Drayer: A little sooner than expected, Mariners’ future begins to arrive
BOSTON – The team that Mariners manager Scott Servais had in front of him when he returned from a two-day trip to Mississippi for his daughter’s college graduation looked a lot different than the team he had when he left.
J.P. Crawford and Shed Long were added to the infield as Dylan Moore hit the injured list with a wrist contusion, and relievers Dan Altavilla and Parker Markel were in the clubhouse Sunday morning.
“Our roster has shuffled quite a bit in the last three to four days. That’s going to happen when you have got injuries and you are running through some bullpen sometimes,” Servais pointed out before Sunday’s series finale against the Red Sox. “It’s nothing that’s all that shocking. We knew our roster was going to transition at some point throughout our season, just may be a little earlier than we thought.”
The players the Mariners called up are players who were expected to get a look at the big league level some time this season – at the very least. While some may have been called up ahead of schedule because of need, it appears that there wasn’t much more that Crawford needed to show in the minors. The former Phillies top prospect was hitting, his fielding had improved, he was coming off big success when got the call. The Mariners have learned a lot about Crawford’s baseball since he came the organization, and Servais is now looking for perhaps less noticeable or quantifiable qualities that he views as important in a shortstop.
“How he carries himself,” Servais said. “He’s a middle-of-the-field player. He’s somebody that we believe is part of our long-term future here. There will be some ups and downs like any player. You go 8 for 15, what happens when you go 0 for 15? I want to see the same guy at shortstop. That same guy directing traffic, how he runs the bases, how he goes through an at-bat, how he carries himself means as much as anything to me.”
In other words, the baseball part of things will take care of itself.
“I think he’s a talented player,” Servais continued. “We’ve all seen that. He’s playing with a big amount of confidence. He’s probably in a better spot than he was in spring training. The defense looks good, I know a couple of the things (infield coach) Perry Hill wanted him to work on, he has. Offensively he’s worked on a few things there with (hitting coordinator) Hugh Quattlebaum and the guys in the minor leagues and it looks good.”
Dee Gordon, who sat out the Boston series, is making good progress in coming back from his wrist injury suffered Thursday in New York and should get out on the field Monday in Seattle to resume some baseball activity. It remains to be seen if the Crawford part of the ‘roster transition’ is a permanent move, but so far so good for Crawford. He has shown well in his first three games with the Mariners, going 4 for 12 with a double and a run scored.
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) May 10, 2019
Long time coming
Parker Markel is a feel-good call-up if there ever was one. Nine years after being drafted by the Tampa Rays, the 28-year-old relief pitcher finally got the call to the big leagues for Sunday’s game.
“I opened the door to the hotel room in Vegas and got the call from (Tacoma Rainiers manager Daren Brown) and it was, ‘Hey, you’re going up,'” Markel recounted in the visitors clubhouse Sunday morning. “Cool! It was one of those things where I sat down and it was like, dang, that really happened.”
Markel had just arrived in Vegas for a series with the Rainiers. His wife was driving from their home in Surprise, Ariz., to meet him. He called her to give her the good news.
“She was crossing the Hoover Dam when I told her,” he said. “‘Are you serious? It’s happening, I’m going to get there as fast as I can.’ Take your time, we’ll make it work.”
Chelsey Markel arrived at the team hotel about forty minutes later, then it was off to the airport to catch a flight to Boston via Atlanta. After a 2 a.m. arrival, Markel was on the early bus to the stadium for his first moments of big league life.
“First time going to the big leagues and it being Fenway, it’s kind of crazy,” he said. “Pulling up in the bus it was, whoa, this is really happening. Walking in the clubhouse, I know some of the guys. I was definitely an eye-opening experience. It was awesome.”
After all that time, Markel didn’t have to wait any longer for his MLB debut. He pitched the fifth inning for the Mariners in their 11-2 loss.
Mother’s Day gesture
The thoughts of many around the club were with Braden Bishop on Sunday, who was optioned back to Triple-A Tacoma after Saturday’s game.
Tomorrow is going to be a beautiful but tough day for me. Enjoy and celebrate your Mom!
— Braden Bishop (@bradenbishop7) May 11, 2019
Bishop’s mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease almost five years ago and Bishop has been very open about the reality of living with the terrible disease. When the roster move needed to be made, the Mariners did a little something extra for him.
While in most cases roster moves are not made until the players who are coming up to the majors are on the ground in the city where the games are to be played, the Mariners told Bishop the night before and helped him get back to California to spend Mother’s Day with his mom before reporting to Triple-A.
• Markel is up with the Mariners in part because Félix Hernández was placed on the 10-day IL due to a right shoulder strain. According to Servais, Felix mentioned to trainers he was not feeling right after his last few pitches Saturday afternoon. He is scheduled for an MRI when the team returns to Seattle.
• Left-handed starting pitcher Wade LeBlanc will make a rehab start with the Rainiers on Monday in Las Vegas. The hope is he can throw three to four innings. If he checks out of those innings with no problems, he could make a weekend start for the Mariners in their series against the Minnesota Twins.