Mariners’ Servais: Impact of Teoscar Hernández, who to watch at ST

Jan 25, 2023, 11:03 AM

Mariners Teoscar Hernandez...

Toronto's Teoscar Hernandez celebrates after hitting a home run against the Mariners on Oct. 8, 2022. (Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

(Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

We’re inching closer and closer to spring training, and for the Mariners that will be the start of their attempt to make it back to the postseason for the second year in a row.

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Many of the players on Seattle’s 2022 playoff roster are back for 2023, but there are certainly some new faces in the mix.

The biggest name? All-Star outfielder Teoscar Hernández, a right-handed hitting slugger who Seattle acquired from Toronto at the beginning of the offseason.

Mariners manager Scott Servais is certainly fired up about the addition of the 2021 All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger winner, as he shared Tuesday night with the Mariners Hot Stove on Seattle Sports 710 AM.

“He can hit homers, no doubt,” Servais said to hosts Gary Hill and Shannon Drayer. “We saw it firsthand.”

Servais and the Mariners certainly did see Hernández’s power firsthand as the slugging outfielder hit not one but two home runs off Robbie Ray in Game 2 of Seattle’s Wild Card series at Toronto last October.

“He’s a very accomplished hitter. He’s been one of the more consistent guys,” Servais said. “I say that and if you look back at his season last year, he got off to just a really rough start. We saw him early in the year when we were in Toronto … and you could just tell his timing was off and whatnot. But he quickly got it right.”

Hernández dealt with an oblique injury early last year, and entering June he was slashing just .185/.250/.294 with two home runs after 25 games. He turned things around from there, slashing .285/.331/.536 with 23 home runs and 66 RBIs over his last 106 games. His final 2022 statline: .267/.316/.491 with 25 home runs and 77 RBIs.

“He’s a guy that’s going to do damage – against righties, against lefties, it really doesn’t matter,” Servais said. “Getting a chance to talk to him, he’s excited. It’s gonna be a great addition for us.”

Who to watch in Mariners spring training

Servais is obviously excited to see Hernández in person in spring training, but who else is the skipper looking forward to watching up close?

“There’s a couple guys. I know J.P. Crawford has done a lot of work this offseason in the weight room in his strength and conditioning training and what he’s doing there, so I’m anxious to see how that looks when we get going in spring training,” he said. “I think you’re always looking forward to seeing some of the younger players. I don’t think anybody has worked as hard as Jarred Kelenic or Taylor Trammell has this offseason. They’re trying to make some adjustments in their swing to allow them to be more consistent.”

Another returning player who Servais wants to see is catcher Tom Murphy, who missed most of 2022 with a shoulder injury.

“He’s back, he’s ready to go. He’s really anxious (to get back to playing),” he said.

And then, of course, there are the prospects.

The Harry Fords, the Bryce Millers. There’s some of the younger players who will be in camp who I’m anxious to see,” Servais said. “You hear so much about them and I know our player development staff, our scouting staff are so high on these players, so getting a chance to be around them everyday in spring training is always fun.”

The Mariners Hot Stove airs from 7-9 p.m. on Tuesday nights on Seattle Sports 710 AM. Listen to the full conversation with Servais from this week’s edition at this link or in the player below.

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Mariners’ Servais: Impact of Teoscar Hernández, who to watch at ST