Mariners notebook: Scott Servais doesn’t expect Steve Clevenger story to be a distraction
MINNEAPOLIS – The television in the manager’s office in the visiting clubhouse of Target Field was tuned to the MLB Network on Friday afternoon, and as the media filed in the story being run was about the Mariners. It was not a story that any manager wants to see, particularly not when his team is fighting for a spot in the playoffs. It was the story of Steve Clevenger’s suspension, and while Scott Servais turned the volume down on the network to begin his media availability, the big question of the day was of course the topic on the screen.
“Very surprised,” Servais said when asked for his reaction to Clevenger’s racially insensitive tweets and subsequent team suspension. “We were traveling yesterday and when we landed heard that there were some things that got out on social media. Just surprised.”
With important games in front of them, Servais does not see the Clevenger situation as a potential distraction for the team.
“I don’t believe it will be,” he said. “We had a little team get-together last night, a few of the guys knew what had happened. I don’t anticipate it being a distraction at all. We have 10 games to play and we kind of know what is at stake and where our focus needs to be and that’s on playing a good ball game tonight and beating the Twins. It’s unfortunate, I think it surprised a lot of people, but we have got games to play.”
As Clevenger has not spent much time with the team since breaking a bone in his hand at the end of June – the Mariners sent him to Arizona shortly after surgery to rehab the injury – it is not an obvious omission from the clubhouse, and as such should make it easier for his teammates to move on.
Clevenger has been suspended without pay for the remainder of the season. All player contracts include a clause that players agree to represent their team and MLB and behave in a socially responsible way. There are reports that Clevenger and the Player’s Association will not appeal the suspension. Clevenger is under club control through 2020 and arbitration eligible after this season, but the team could elect to non-tender him next season.
• Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto has added Justin Hollander to his staff as Director of Baseball Operations. Hollander has spent the past nine season in the Angels front office, the last year as Director of Player Personnel.
• Playoff odds heading into Friday’s games for the American League’s Wild Card contenders: Blue Jays 77.2 percent, Tigers 57.8 percent, Orioles 33.9 percent, Astros 16.6 percent, Mariners 12.9 percent, NYY 1.6 percent.
• Pitching probables for the Twins series: Friday, James Paxton vs. Kyle Gibson (RHP); Saturday, Ariel Miranda vs. Tyler Duffey (RHP); Sunday, Taijuan Walker vs. Hector Santiago (LHP).