Mariners Observations: Julio Rodríguez leads a long list of highlights in 13-0 win over Royals

Mar 16, 2021, 10:33 PM | Updated: 10:34 pm

Mariners Julio Rodríguez...

Julio Rodríguez hit his first home run in a spring training game on Tuesday. (Getty)


If there was any worry that the offense had yet to come to life for the Mariners this spring, manager Scott Servais wasn’t showing it Tuesday afternoon.

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“I think our swing decisions are good,” he said on his daily media call. “I would like to see us start squaring up a few more balls. As the guys’ timing gets better, hopefully we see that here coming together over the next week or so.”

How about in a few hours?

Tuesday night against the Royals in Surprise, Ariz., the Mariners started scoring runs in the first inning and didn’t take a break until the sixth on the way to the 13-0 win. Highlights, there were many.

Do you like home runs? Take your pick.

Ty France with his fourth of the spring, a 435 foot blast.

Two batters later, Tom Murphy at designated hitter for a second straight day checked in with his first of the spring, one that traveled 411 feet.

Julio Rodríguez, who has been putting together nice plate appearances, took one deep in the fifth inning against Royals prospect Carlos Hernandez. His went an estimated 437 feet to right-center.

Every starter recorded at least one hit, with notables including Sam Haggerty, who is in good position to win a bench spot, going 3 for 4 with two RBIs, and Evan White, who was 3 for 18 heading into the game, going 2 for 3 with a walk and two runs batted in.

“It was really great to see,” said Servais, who then pointed to what he felt was a moment that should not go unnoticed. “First batter of the game, Mitch Haniger hits a ball and the left fielder misplayed it, dropped it, and Haniger was at second base. For all of our young players, that ball is caught in the big leagues 99 out of 100 times but you have got to run it out and do the right thing. It really set the tone for us.”

Yeah, but the fireworks…

“And wow,” Servais continued. “How about the ball Julio hit? Really special.”

How about that? And the rocket of a double that he legged out later in the game? And his play in general the last week?

“Julio looks like he’s playing A-ball or winter league,” said Servais. “He’s just playing instead of getting caught up a little bit in showing everybody what he can do. He’s not chasing, he’s really being disciplined at the plate. I can’t believe he hit that ball as hard as he did tonight. I’ve been around this game a long time and to see a young guy turn around on a 97-98 mph fastball and drive it out of the park, you don’t see that. He’s a really special talent and a really fun personality to be around every day.”

Along with the offense, the Mariners’ pitching had one of its better games in a while starting with Justus Sheffield, who pitched four scoreless innings, allowing two hits and two walks and striking out six. Coming off an outing that turned into a “just get your pitches in” affair after giving up six runs, Sheffield went to work on both his pitches and focus Tuesday.

“I was definitely itching to get back out there, especially after that last one,” he said. “I feel like the last one I didn’t really bring enough energy. Tonight I wanted to treat more like a real game. It was good to get those feels, get those jitters going. Just trying to get going and able to get through four. It was nice.”

“I knew he was going to have a good outing tonight,” said Servais. “He was pretty disappointed and kind of disgusted about how things went last time. He’s just not used to getting banged around like that. You find out a lot about guys when they get punched in the mouth, and he came right back. He was ready to go and really locked in from the first pitch.”

Another solid outing from the bullpen followed Sheffield with Casey Sadler, Will Vest, Joey Gerber and Drew Steckenrider combining to pitch five innings of one-hit, two-walk ball while striking out nine.

A good night all around for the Mariners.

Mariners notes

• While the team has yet to announce the injury Roenis Elías suffered in the Dodgers game last week, a source confirms that he tore his ulnar collateral ligament and will undergo Tommy John surgery. It was announced Tuesday that he had elected to undergo surgery.

• Jarred Kelenic hit against live pitching Tuesday afternoon at the Mariners’ complex in Peoria and tested his leg running to second base after his final plate appearance. He was quick out of the box and made a good turn at first, and if there was any doubt how he was feeling, no doubt that was put to rest with the slide into second.

Kelenic is expected to return to game action on Wednesday.

• Three more roster moves were made Tuesday, with right-handed pitcher Juan Then optioned to High-A Everett, and left-hander Ian McKinney and righty Moises Gomez re-assigned to minor league camp. That puts the Mariners’ spring roster at 60 players.

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First cuts of Mariners spring training come earlier than expected

Team: mariners
Date Starting Pitcher
Friday, June 9 @ 6:38 pm Mariners' Luis Castillo RHP vs. Angels' Shohei Ohtani RHP

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Light Rain
High 59° | Low 53°
Mariners are on the road.
Mariners at Angels today at 6:38pm

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Mariners Observations: Julio Rodríguez leads a long list of highlights in 13-0 win over Royals