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Scott Servais sheds light on how veterans are handling Mariners’ step-back season

Scott Servais says Jay Bruce "carries a lot of weight" in the Mariners clubhouse. (AP)

A story in the Seattle Times earlier this week put a spotlight on how the more tenured major league players in the Mariners clubhouse feel about playing on a team that is focused much more on rebuilding for the future rather than trying to win this year.

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Starting pitcher Mike Leake’s comments stood out the most, as he stated that “There’s days where you wonder, if I’m not part of (the team’s future), should you trade me to someone who wants me more?”

On Wednesday morning, 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock and Salk were able to sit down with Mariners managers Scott Servais at T-Mobile Park, and Servais provided a look at what he sees the veterans going through this season in the clubhouse.

“You know, it’s hard. Guys want to win,” Servais said. “… We’ve got a mix on our team, obviously there’s a group of really young guys, a lot of rookies. Then you’ve got that middle grouping of (Mitch) Haniger, Marco (Gonzales), Omar (Narváez), keeping that group going. And then there’s the veteran guys, and they understand where we’re at as an organization.”

Servais is understanding of players that might not be excited about playing on a last-place team that has its focus on building a younger core that can help the franchise return to contention early next decade. But he also had a message about what they can do about it.

“I get it, they’re not all crazy about our situation or their situation, but there’s one thing they control, and all you can worry about is what you control. They control how they play on the field.”

One veteran player has stood out to Servais for making the most of the situation, however: Jay Bruce, who while hitting just .206 is serving as a bit of a coach for younger players.

“Jay Bruce carries a lot of weight in our clubhouse because Jay’s been around a long time, he’s been in situations where teams have struggled,” Servais said. “He’s a three-time All-Star, he’s off to a rough start (but) he’s starting to swing better now. Watching how he’s handled all this has been a bright spot for me. I got a lot of respect for Jay.

“He’s done a great job with Daniel Vogelbach keeping Vogey in a good spot, and Jay’s not afraid to speak his voice. It’s easier when you’re hitting .280, but Jay’s been a really positive guy in our clubhouse.”

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