Mariners notebook: Where will Kyle Seager hit?
By Shannon Drayer
First thing’s first. If you missed the Cactus League Report, the chilly Cactus League Report last night, as always, never fear, we have a podcast.
Scott Servais, Joaquin Benoit, Tony Zych and Larry Stone joined us for two hours of baseball talk. Servais hit on a number of topics including what they are seeing from the pitchers, the morning meetings and how they are utilizing shifts. All good stuff. I took the opportunity to ask about lineups and what questions he had remaining about the batting order. While there is plenty of time for changes, it sounds like the lineup is close to set and once it is set, it may be much more set than we have seen in recent years.
“I do believe in being consistent in the lineup,” said Servais. “To be on a good team you really have to trust the guy behind you, to take a walk, to not feel like you have to be the guy to drive them in each night. That’s a message we have talked about with our team. It’s not one guy, it’s not 2 or 3, it’s a group of players that are going to get us where we want to go.”
There is some intrigue in what Servais could do with the lineup. We pretty much know what the middle of the order will be, and there are options on the top and the bottom of the order depending on what they do with Ketel Marte who has as predicted, opened eyes.
“What’s stood out so far, Ketel Marte is taking the next step in his career,” said Servais. “He’s going to be a real, real dynamic player. He’s gotten stronger, the ball is really jumping off his bat.”
So does Servais hit him second or 8th? And what about Kyle Seager? We have seen him hit second quite a bit but that has been with Nori Aoki out of the lineup. Would he be bumped to 3rd where he has expressed a preference to hit Robinson Cano in the full lineup or would he be lower? Servais isn’t tipping his cards yet, but his thinking on Seager is interesting.
“You try to bunch your guys together that are going to have a little more extra base power,” he said. “You put Kyle, Robbie, Cruz, Lind, then you have got Guti or Seth Smith in that spot then Iannetta. It’s a nice grouping of guys. You could put Kyle at the backside of that with Ketel at the top…Kyle’s is going to give us a good at bat whether we put him 2nd, 4th, 6th or 8th, that’s just who he is. We will play with it a little bit down here in spring training, but I do want to be consistent once we get into the season.”
We are not quite there yet and there are questions still to be answered.
–Mike Montgomery who has been sidelined for just over a week after having a cyst removed from his neck threw 36 pitches in a simulated 2 innings this morning in camp and all went well. Better than well according to Mel Stottlemyre.
“Real good, real good,” he answered when I asked how Montgomery looked. “Plus breaking ball.”
Stottlemyre was clearly impressed and very interested to see what happens in game action. Montgomery, who is out of options, will make his first Cactus League start in one of the split squad games March 12.
-Felix Hernadez will throw a sim game Wednesday and then should be ready for his first Cactus League start.
-With Evan Scribner and Ryan Cook down with lat injuries, the Mariners look a little thin in right handed reliever depth. One pitcher that has been opening eyes is the oldest pitcher in camp, Joel Peralta.
“Peralta has been very good,” said Servais in his meeting with the media Tuesday morning. “He’s thrown the ball well, he’s added a lot to our clubhouse. “He does have experience and some leadership ability. He’s off to a good start.”
-Leonys Martin has one of the best outfield arms in the game. He has the ability to throw guys out at the plate from center and that is not something Servais is taking for granted.
“Typically those guys have been on a corner,” he said. “It is really hard to for centerfielder to throw guys out at home plate. If you look over the course of a year it does not happen often. Our guy has the ability to do that.”