Servais on Mariners: ‘Not worried’ about France; talks ‘cult hero’ Haggerty

Aug 23, 2022, 3:04 PM | Updated: 3:05 pm

Mariners Ty France...

Ty France holds his helmet after striking out swinging with a man on base against the Houston Astros, Sunday, July 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The Mariners are back in action Tuesday evening against the Washington Nationals after Monday’s off day, and as he always does on Tuesdays, manager Scott Servais joined Seattle Sports 710 AM for The Scott Servais Show to discuss his team.

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During his conversation with Bump and Stacy and Mariners insider Shannon Drayer, the M’s skipper discussed two of his slugging right-handed hitters as well as a cult hero and his antics behind the scenes.

“Not worried” about Ty France

Seattle’s All-Star first baseman has not been himself of late, slashing just .145/.203/.194 with one extra-base hit since the start of August. He has battled some injuries in recent seasons, most recently his left elbow in a collision in Oakland that landed him on the injured list at the end of June and into early July. His left wrist, which he initially hurt in 2021, has seemingly continued to bug him, as he’s missed a handful of games in July and August without being placed on the injured list.

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Servais made it clear Tuesday that France is not hurt and is just going through a scuffle at the plate.

“It’s like everybody wants to paint this picture,” he said, later adding, “Ty France is an awesome hitter. He carried our team probably through the first half of the season. He was an All-Star. Certainly he did have a little bit of a wrist issue – he took some time off. Is he 100%? There’s probably not anybody on our team that’s 100% right now. But Ty feels fine as far as the wrist goes and being able to swing and whatnot.”

Servais said France has “had tough luck” at times lately, and he’s chasing pitches he normally wouldn’t.

“It happens throughout the course of a season. For players to just stay on top of their game the entire year, it’s almost impossible to do,” he said. “He’s hit a little bit of a bump in the road, so to speak. But Ty’s our guy. He has been awesome since he’s been a Mariner. And the only people I think that are sincerely worried about him are the people outside the building. The people inside know that Ty is going to get it going again. It gets back to our fundamental things we talk about here constantly: it’s controlling the strike zone, getting your pitch to hit. When you do that and you shrink the zone, good things happen.”

Servais pointed to France’s last at-bat in Saturday’s loss in Oakland as an example of France being OK.

“Ty had a fantastic at-bat and he lined out to the left fielder with the winning run on third base (in the ninth inning). That would have been the game-winning hit. He did everything he should have done. He swung at the right pitch, he squared it up. It just got caught. That happens once in a while,” he said. “But if it’s the game-winning hit, we’re probably not even having this conversation today. So I’m not worried about Ty. I’ve got a ton of confidence in him – our entire team does – and he’s gonna be huge for us down the stretch. There’s no question about it.”

Mitch Haniger’s hot return from the IL

Since being activated from the IL after missing most of the 2022 season, Haniger has been stellar for the Mariners.

Haniger has hit safely in 13 of 14 games since being added to the active roster, slashing .327/.403/.455 with two home runs.

Servais called Haniger “awesome” and “as good a right-handed hitter” as there is in all of baseball when he’s healthy and staying on the field.

“He prepares as good as anybody we have, and we certainly missed him when he was out of the lineup. It took a while to get back, and when he did come back he wanted to be as close to 100% as he could, and I think that’s the reason that he’s jumped out to the start that he has since he has come back,” Servais said. “His timing is pretty good at the plate, he looks good in the outfield. We do want to be, I don’t want to say cautious, but we’re gonna mix in some DH days for him as well to keep him strong here throughout the entire season because he missed a big chunk of it. But (I’m) really excited to have him back in our lineup. He’s huge for us.”

Sam Haggerty: Riddle Master

Servais said his roster is “a very light group” and likes to keep things interesting.

Someone who keeps things interesting on the field, and apparently also off of it, is Sam Haggerty, the utility man who has been great for the Mariners this season and emerged as a fan favorite.

“Sam Haggerty has kind of become a cult hero, obviously,” Servais said.

He’s also a fan of riddles, apparently.

“He started a thing back in our hitters meetings a few weeks ago. He would bring in the riddle of the day. He’d write it up on the board and then he wouldn’t tell anybody the answer and let the guys figure it out,” Servais said. “Jesse Winker probably has the most fun with it every day. And he only does it at home, so I’m really curious to see what Swaggy’s riddle is going to be today. That’s what I’m looking forward to and seeing how our team responds to that. Oh, by the way, we’ve got a game tonight. So I think we’re in a good spot.”

Listen to the latest Scott Servais Show at this link or in the player below.

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Servais on Mariners: ‘Not worried’ about France; talks ‘cult hero’ Haggerty