Servais: Robinson Cano’s suspension a ‘bit of a gut punch’
It’s been a busy week for Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais.
A no-hitter from James Paxton on May 8 was a high but following it were games that saw freak injuries for All-Star designated hitter Nelson Cruz and Gold Glove-winning second baseman Robinson Cano (both players were hit by a pitch, resulting in a foot contusion for Cruz and a broken hand for Cano). Overshadowing all of it was the news Tuesday that Cano has been issued an 80-day suspension – a result of violating the league’s drug policy.
“There’s no preparation for something like that,” Servais told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock and Salk Thursday morning (find the full interview in this podcast). “We obviously didn’t know anything about it. I didn’t know anything about it until early Monday morning. In this situation, thankfully for us, our lineup and our roster is deep enough, I believe, to absorb it…
“Robbie called me probably about 30 minutes to an hour before the story hit the national wire. I talked to (him) for about ten minutes. (He was) very apologetic and very sorry for the position he put our ball club in. On top of that, he also felt very badly that – he went ahead and had the surgery on his hand yesterday – and not being in Seattle when all this went down really really bothered him.
“When things like that happen, it’s a little bit of a gut punch. But we’ve absorbed a few of those in the past and we will this one. I think we have a very talented team, we’re going to have to get everybody to continue just to do their job.”
Dee Gordon to move to 2B this weekend
In the meantime, the team plans to move Dee Gordon from center field to second base. Servais said he’ll likely transition at some point during Seattle’s four-game series against the Detroit Tigers, which starts tonight at 7:10 p.m.
“I don’t have any doubt it’s going to be very dynamic,” Servais said. “Dee is just such a talented guy, really good athlete, and very confident and familiar with second base, obviously, so he’s going to get probably a little bit more thorough workout today before the game in pregame. Probably needs to get some live balls off the bat in batting practice and see where we’re at after that.”
Servais expects OF Guillermo Heredia to take Gordon’s place in centerfield, with some occasional relief from Mitch Haniger.
A possible return for Nelson Cruz?
Servais told reporters Wednesday Cruz is expected to “miss a couple days” with a foot contusion. However, he told Brock and Salk the All-Star is itching to return to the lineup sooner.
“Crazy as it sounds, the first person to walk into my office yesterday was Nelson Cruz. And he said, ‘Don’t put (up) the lineup early tomorrow.’ He wants to do everything he can to see if he can get in there and play tonight. So we’ll see. We’ll know more when we get into the ballpark tonight.”