Mariners Notebook: Checking in on Seattle’s bats; WBC updates

Mar 9, 2023, 5:35 PM
Mariners Kolten Wong...
Kolten Wong of the Seattle Mariners swings against the San Diego Padres on Feb. 24, 2023. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

What about the bats? We have talked quite a bit about the impressive array of arms in Mariners camp – manager Scott Servais marveled at the depth and how they are throwing the ball once more Thursday morning – but what about the bats?

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Hitters can be a little bit tougher to read in the spring, and the last place you want to look is the stat sheet. Spring training for hitters is not about results.

One example? Kolten Wong. On paper, he’s 3 for 20 this spring. In the eyes of his manager, who has had eyes on Won’s every at-bat, he’s right where he needs to be.

“Kolten Wong swung the bat very well this spring,” Servais said. “He hasn’t gotten a lot of hits but he’s barreled a lot of balls. He hasn’t been very lucky, but (with) veteran players, as long as you are having good at-bats and doing the right things I think eventually it will turn when it counts. I’m happy where he’s at.”

Servais has liked what he has seen from both Mariners catchers at the plate, as well. Tom Murphy, coming back from shoulder surgery, has seen a good number of at-bats early in games as the Mariners are giving Cal Raleigh a little break after his heavy workload last year, using him more sparingly in early games. This has given the switch-hitting Raleigh a little more time to focus on his offense.

“Last year when I hurt my thumb, I kind of lost reps from the right-handed side so I wasn’t able to swing and I lost a lot of game reps and a lot of feel,” Raleigh said. “So I’m really trying to hammer that home this spring, make my approach more consistent, staying through center field through both the left and right side.”

Servais also noted that first baseman Ty France has been starting to get some feel at the plate while shortstop J.P. Crawford hasn’t yet.

“His timing is off,” Servais said of Crawford.

With three weeks to go until opening day, there is little to no concern about timing or struggles, but there is ongoing coaching and individual player plan talks.

“All those things are happening now behind the scenes,” Servais said. “Some of the time you throw those things out at players and they are going to go out and put it in play, they are going to make adjustments. That’s what spring training is for. Stats don’t really count. Now’s the time without the pressure of having to chase a result. Hopefully they could put some of those things in that they are talking about behind the scenes.”

So what about the bats? The offense is a tough read at this point, especially with Julio Rodríguez and Teoscar Hernández away for the World Baseball Classic. It hasn’t dazzled like the Mariners’ pitching, but it’s early. Stay tuned.

Mariners notes

• Outfield prospect Cade Marlowe, who has had an excellent spring so far, exited the Mariners’ 5-3 win Thursday over Team Canada (box score) after the second inning with mild soreness in his oblique. The team does not expect this to keep him out for long, stressing it was a more precautionary move.

• Rodríguez went 0 for 3 with a strikeout while Hernández was 0 for 3 with two Ks as the Domincan Republic fell 2-1 to the Twins in another exhibition game.

• Matt Festa pitched two innings and gave up one run in Italy’s 6-3 win over Cuba in WBC tournament play. Servais appeared none too happy when told Festa had pitched two innings.

• The Mariners host the Reds on Friday in Peoria with George Kirby to make his second start. Live coverage of the noon game will be carried on Seattle Sports beginning at 11:50 a.m. with a 10-minute pregame. Click here for the full Mariners spring training radio broadcast schedule.

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