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07/23/08 5:15 PM ET

Freak injury sidelines Clement

Catcher day-to-day after tearing fingernail on popup play

SEATTLE -- A freak accident will keep Mariners catcher Jeff Clement out for a little bit longer.

In the second inning of Tuesday's game between the Mariners and the Red Sox, Clement ran back to the screen behind home plate while chasing a popup. The ball barely cleared the screen and descended just barely on the other side of the barrier. But as Clement stood on the playing-field side, he reached the fingers of his right (throwing) hand through the holes in the screen. As the ball came down on the other side, it clipped his right thumb and partially tore the fingernail.

Clement finished the half inning after getting it taped up and then struck out in his at-bat in the bottom of the frame before being replaced by Kenji Johjima. He was not in the lineup for Wednesday's series finale against the Red Sox, and it could be a couple days before the finger is ready to go.

"He could swing a bat probably, but throwing is the issue," manager Jim Riggleman said. "Hopefully with the off-day tomorrow, this weekend hopefully he's ready to go."

Riggleman indicated Saturday is the most likely return date for Clement, due in part to pitching matchups.

"Friday we're facing a left-hander anyway, so I'm thinking if he's totally 100 percent we may get him in there," the manager said. "But anything less than 100 percent I might wait till Saturday when a right-hander is pitching."

Jesse Baumgartner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.