SEATTLE -- There's never a good time for injuries, but this was really bad timing for Josh Hamilton to get hurt.
He entered Tuesday's game at Safeco Field with a .500 batting average, a couple of homers and a team-leading six walks, finally showing the slugger the Angels expected when they signed him to a $125 million contract. Then Hamilton slid headfirst into first base, injured his left thumb, and now the Angels will be without their hottest hitter for 6-8 weeks.
"That's just one of things where, when you feel good, you feel good all around -- running balls out and just playing the game," Hamilton said after the Angels lost to the Mariners, 5-3, on Tuesday night. "I'll get an MRI tomorrow, see what it says and go from there."
And the Angels will carry on.
They'll start with Garrett Richards, the 25-year-old right-hander who pitched five innings of one-run ball in a win over the Astros on Friday and posted a 3.68 ERA in 22 innings against the Mariners last year.
He'll be opposed by rookie lefty Roenis Elias, who will make his Safeco Field debut for the Mariners after making the jump from Double-A to crack the opening rotation.
The 25-year-old Cuban threw 4 2/3 innings of no-hit ball in his Major League debut Thursday in Oakland, but settled for a no-decision after being relieved after five frames. He allowed one run on two hits with three walks and three strikeouts in the 3-2, 12-inning loss.
Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said he would have sent Elias out for another inning since he was only at 80 pitches, but took him out after about a five-minute delay at the end of the fifth due to an umpire review of a play at the plate when catcher Mike Zunino tagged out Sam Fuld trying for an inside-the-park home run.
Elias walked three batters in the first two innings, but then settled in and turned in a solid debut.
Elias said his wildness the first two innings was partly nerves and partly an adjustment to home plate umpire Sean Barber's strike zone.
"Yes, it took a little bit," Elias said through interpreter Fernando Alcala. "There were a few pitches there that in the Minor Leagues are strikes, but not here. The umpire had the strike zone a little tight."
Angels: Nick Adenhart still on the forefront
Today marks five years since Nick Adenhart's death in a car accident.
In the early-morning hours of April 9, 2008, the 22-year-old Angels pitcher and two friends were killed by a drunk driver hours after he threw six scoreless innings against the A's. A fourth passenger, Jon Wilhite, sustained critical injuries.
"It's hard to believe that it even happened," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's tough to even put into words, but it's something that his family has had to deal with and we have to deal with, losing a teammate and a friend."
Mariners: McClendon knows fans want positive proof
McClendon said he's not surprised at the positive reaction around Seattle to the Mariners' 5-2 start to the season, but he also understands it's going to take time to sustain that support.
McClendon knows the only way to really win over fans is simply to win games. And, yeah, he gets why it'll take time to make most people believe the club is truly headed the right direction.
"We have a good fan base," McClendon said. "Listen, I understand. We've been knocked around for quite a while. People in the streets can be very pessimistic, as well as you guys. And probably rightfully so. We just haven't got it done and this is a results-oriented business."
• Albert Pujols' two-run homer in the first inning on Tuesday gave him 1,501 career RBIs, making him the 52nd player in baseball history to reach the 1,500-RBI plateu.
• Since 2001, Mike Trout's 23 RBIs against the Mariners are the most in the Majors.
• Elias is the third native Cuban to pitch for the Mariners, joining Diego Segui (1977) and Tony Fossas (1998).
• The Mariners' 4-2 road trip to Anaheim and Oakland was their first winning record on a season-opening trek since going 5-2 in 2009.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.