SHANNON DRAYER

Notebook: Mariners in action away from the Mariners

Mar 8, 2017, 3:11 PM | Updated: 3:55 pm
Robinson Cano and 12 other Mariners are playing in this year's World Baseball Classic. (AP)...
Robinson Cano and 12 other Mariners are playing in this year's World Baseball Classic. (AP)
(AP)

PEORIA, Ariz. – There were games before the game Wednesday and the Mariners were watching as teammates competed in the World Baseball Classic. The teams in Arizona and Florida had exhibition games against MLB teams. As of 2 p.m. Seattle time, this is how the Mariners who played fared:

• Robinson Cano (Dominican Republic): 1 for 2, BB
• Nelson Cruz (DR): 0 for 3, RBI, 2 BB
• Jean Segura (DR): 1 for 4, BB
• Tyler O’Neill (Canada): 1 for 4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 K

Having his players in games away from camp has to be any manager’s nightmare, no matter how much they want to respect the tournament. I asked Scott Servais how much he had checked in on the games Wednesday afternoon thinking he would answer with a number or a mention of O’Neill’s home run. His first thought?

World Baseball Classic: TV schedule of games involving Mariners

“I heard Nelson Cruz tried to go first to third and got blown up and made the first out at third,” Servais grimly answered. “We follow it. The guys know what is going on. It’s baseball.”

I’m not sure if he was unhappy that his big guy was pushing it on the bases, or that he didn’t make it and was the first out. Regardless, there has to be some uneasiness with all of his players, but Servais didn’t quite go there when pressed.

“I will be watching very intently,” he answered when asked if he would watch Drew Smyly’s outing with fear.

Fortunately for Servais, Hisashi Iwakuma turned down the opportunity to pitch for Japan and instead will pitch Wednesday night in Peoria.

Lineup!

Jarrod Dyson, 7
Leonys Martin, 8
Kyle Seager, 5
Danny Valencia, DH
Daniel Vogelbach, 3
Mitch Haniger, 9
Carlos Ruiz, 2
Taylor Motter, 6
Mike Freeman, 4

Iwakuma

Seager leads the way

One of the concerns Servais had about losing so many players to the WBC was that he was losing the majority of his veteran leadership group. It wasn’t so much about what they do on the field, but off the field: driving the meetings, helping out in the batting cages, talking on the bench during games – all things that benefit the younger players in camp.

Well, thank goodness Kyle Seager is still here.

That is not an uncommon sight. Seager is not just picking up the slack; he is a guy that younger players have gravitated towards the last few years. Servais is not surprised.

“Kyle is very down to earth, he’s easy to talk to,” Servais said. “When I think of all of our guys our veteran guys, our star players, we hear it from guys who come into our organization from other places, ‘Wow, these guys are really open.’ You hear the guys in the meetings speak up and offer advice to young players, it’s very valuable. A lot of places, it really isn’t that way. The young guy has to earn his dues before the veteran will give him the time of day. In our clubhouse, it isn’t that way.”

Notes

• Drew Smyly still does not know which WBC game he will pitch in, and in an effort to avoid too much down time between facing live hitters, he will throw a one-inning simulated game Thursday before he leaves for the WBC.

• The Mariners’ listed starters through Monday:

Thursday @ Cubs: James Paxton
Friday vs Cubs: Chris Heston
Saturday vs Reds: Chase De Jong
Sunday @ Angels: Ariel Miranda
Monday @ Brewers: Hisashi Iwakuma

• “The Cactus League Report” can be heard tonight on 710 ESPN Seattle at 5. The one-hour show comes to you this week from the stadium as there is a night game. Next week it returns to the Salty Senorita.

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Notebook: Mariners in action away from the Mariners