SHANNON DRAYER

Mariners notebook: Ben Gamel will continue to play in crowded OF

Sep 5, 2016, 4:01 PM

With Nori Aoki set to return from Triple-A Tacoma on Tuesday, an already crowded Seattle outfield will get more so. One semi-constant presence to expect in the lineup, however, should be Ben Gamel, who the Mariners want to get a good look at.

“We are getting the opportunity here in the early going to see if (Gamel) can be that catalyst,” Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “See if he can get on base, move around the bases, be an athletic-type guy. Obviously that is going to have to be balanced, you want to find at-bats for all of these guys. As I said to Scott (Servais), whatever we are sorting through in September, every game matters, every win matters, and what we are building for beyond 2016 matters, too.”

Dipoto pointed out that Gamel has run nearly neutral splits against right-handed and left-handed pitchers in the minor leagues. That’s important in the leadoff spot, which is where he will get his look. While he was out of the lineup against Texas ace Cole Hamels on Monday, Servais has liked what he has seen from Gamel early.

“He’s pretty much as advertised,” the Mariners’ skipper said. “The good defense in the outfield, a really good idea of the strike zone. It doesn’t look like he is in panic mode or in a hurry to hit all the time, he wants to get a good pitch to hit. I think there are things to continue to work on. Big league pitching is different than Triple-A pitching. There is going to be an adjustment but I like what I have seen.”

Notes

• The Angels announced that Matt Shoemaker had successful emergency surgery Sunday night at the UW Medical Center to stop the bleeding on his brain after he was hit on the head by a line drive off Kyle Seager’s bat. Shoemaker’s season is over but he was alert and talking after the surgery and is expected to make a full recovery.

• Right-handed reliever Tom Wihelmsen, who is eligible to return from the DL Sept. 9, will throw a simulated game Thursday.

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