Mariners notebook: Mike Zunino already seeing more playing time

Jul 26, 2016, 5:16 PM | Updated: Jul 27, 2016, 2:24 pm

Scott Servais says Mike Zunino has gotten away from the approach that was working for him earlier i...

Scott Servais says Mike Zunino has gotten away from the approach that was working for him earlier in the season. (AP)


PITTSBURGH – Including Tuesday’s series opener against the Pirates, Mike Zunino has started four of the five games the Mariners have played since he was recalled from Tacoma on July 20. Since that day, Chris Iannetta has had one start behind the plate and one as the designated hitter. Mariners manager Scott Servais had said that Zunino would play more than a backup catcher, but now it appears he is getting starter outings.

“Chris did a really nice job getting the ball rolling, particularly at the beginning of the year,” Servais said Tuesday. “We’ve put Zunino in a spot where I think he can have success now and not all the pressure in the world is on him. He can just go out there, and I think it is a good tandem.”

According to Servais, the workload split will vary. Matchups, travel and schedule will play into who gets written into the lineup each day. By the sounds of things, however, it appears Zunino could get the bulk of the playing time.

“We are going to give Mike a chance to play,” Servais said. “I’ve said all along, this year is about Mike Zunino and putting him in a good spot and keeping him going. At the end of the day, we have got to find out what we have got. We took the steps backward, we sent him to Triple-A, he’s made adjustments in his approach. How is he going to play here at the big-league level? The only way to find that out is to play him. And we will find out.”

Walker facing some adversity in rehab

Taijuan Walker, who has been out with tendinitis in his right foot, will throw a 45-50-pitch simulated game Wednesday. He threw a bullpen session in Toronto and while he said his foot felt OK, he wasn’t comfortable with what he did on the mound. Servais took the gloves off a bit, saying that it is up to Walker to turn up the intensity in his work.

“In Toronto, it wasn’t that great. He felt great but the ball wasn’t coming out that great so he needs to get after it tomorrow,” Servais said.

Servais needs Walker to generate game intensity to properly test his foot and also get good work in with his pitches after the layoff.

“I just don’t want him flipping balls in there,” Servais said. “He needs to get after it and treat it like a real game.”


• Ketel Marte (mono) was scheduled to see the doctor again in Seattle and the hope was he could play catch Tuesday afternoon. Marte has lost seven to eight pounds since coming down with his illness, which is a concern. There is no timetable for his return.

• Charlie Furbush will throw in back-to-back outings on Thursday and Friday. His scheduled rehab assignments will end after the Friday appearance and he will need to be added to an active roster.

• Ken Griffey Jr.’s Hall of Fame plaque will be on display at Safeco Field Aug. 5-6. There will be photo opportunities for fans with tickets to those games on both days: Friday from 5:10 p.m. to the end of the game and Saturday from 6:45 p.m. to the end of the game. Safeco will open on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for photo opportunities, but a free ticket will be required. Tickets will be available online at noon Thursday at

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

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Mariners notebook: Mike Zunino already seeing more playing time