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Scott Servais explains Mariners’ decision to send Ben Gamel to Triple-A

The Mariners optioned Ben Gamel to Triple-A Tacoma after trading for Cameron Maybin. (AP)

With Tuesday’s trade for center fielder Cameron Maybin, the Mariners had a tough decision to make with the outfielders on their roster. The odd man out ended up being Ben Gamel, who is hitting .290 with a .360 on-base percentage, one home run and 12 RBIs in 72 games this season.

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The Mariners optioned Gamel and relief pitcher Chasen Bradford to Triple-A Tacoma on Wednesday to make room for Maybin and fellow recent trade acquisition Adam Warren. That same morning, Mariners manager Scott Servais joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock and Salk and explained why the M’s chose to keep outfielder Guillermo Heredia (.227 average) over Gamel on the 25-man roster.

“You’re just trying to manage the roster and when you look at what fits better, how does this all play out – Denard Span’s done a heck of a job for us in left. Denard being a left-handed hitter, Guillermo right-handed, we thought that platoon situation probably lined up a little bit better,” Servais said. “It’s really a tough decision and when you have to sit down with players like Ben Gamel, like Chasen Bradford last night after the game, it’s tough. Both those guys have done a really good job for us this year.”

Gamel is required to be in Tacoma for at least 10 days unless he replaces an injured Mariners player, but Servais doesn’t expect him to be with the Rainiers indefinitely.

“He’ll be down for at least 10 days, and then we’ll look at what’s coming up starting pitching-wise,” Servais said. “If there’s a string of righties we may make some adjustments here, and certainly if nothing happens before then he’ll be back on our roster (when it expands to 40 players) on Sept. 1. We love Ben, love what he brings, love the hair, love the whole deal – it’s a tough decision, it’s just sometimes you have to make it for the betterment of the team.”

With Span and Heredia, the Mariners will have both a dynamic hitter and dynamic fielder as options in left field next to Maybin in center.

“The fit on our roster, with the flexibility we have with Heredia being able to play center field at a very high level as well as going on the corners, it gives us more pieces to maneuver around,” Servais said. “Mitch Haniger has gone into center field at times. It’s not ideal, I think we’d like to keep Mitch in right field, but to try to help our offense a little bit we went that way to get the two left-handed hitters (Gamel and Span) on the corners. This situation, this decision, it’s not permanent. It’s one of those things we thought was best to go at this time with our team.”

Servais talked about much more with Mike Salk and guest host Bob Stelton, including the plan going forward with the struggling Felix Hernandez. You can hear the full interview in this podcast of Wednesday’s show.

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