BRENT STECKER

Notebook: Taylor Motter’s emergence gives Mariners extra time to rest Kyle Seager

Apr 25, 2017, 3:36 PM
The Mariners can afford to give Kyle Seager (hip) an extra day off due to Taylor Motter's versatili...
The Mariners can afford to give Kyle Seager (hip) an extra day off due to Taylor Motter's versatility. (AP)
(AP)

Kyle Seager didn’t play in Sunday’s Mariners win with a sore hip, and he was again left out of the starting lineup for Tuesday’s series opener in Detroit. While on the surface that may seem like seem like a bad sign, it’s actually more an indication of the shape the team is in with Taylor Motter swinging a hot bat.

With Jean Segura back at shortstop from a DL stint on Tuesday, the Marinersi were left looking for a spot to play Motter, who started the season as Seattle’s utility man. So with Seager nursing his hip issue, Servais decided to give him more time to recover – even with Seager insisting he feels fne.

“I’m trying to be proactive on this thing and kinda take the decision away from him,” Servais said of Seager. “We have a lot of games left, we have a long season to go and I would hate to lose him for a significant amount of time so cautious right now.”

Huard: Mariners may face more tough decisions soon

Of course, that’s not the whole story. Motter leads the team with five home runs and is second behind only Mitch Haniger with a .988 OPS, so Servais didn’t have to think too hard about giving his regular third baseman another day to get back to 100 percent.

“It makes it a little bit easier. Taylor’s done a great job for us,” Servais said.

When Seager is back in the starting lineup – presumably Wednesday – the answer about where to play Motter will get a little harder. Servais at least appears excited about the opportunities Motter’s ability to play multiple positions – essentially every spot but catcher and pitcher – will afford him.

“The versatility he’s got is really a plus. It almost turns into a Ben Zobrist-type player. …You can kinda put him all different spots in the field and (he’ll) still give you a good at-bat, so really valuable for us.”

New approach to Diaz’s role

Mariners closer Edwin Diaz has seen limited action so far in 2017, appearing in just six games for 6 2/3 innings of work. Servais is looking to get him more action, which means Diaz won’t be exclusive to the ninth inning.

“He may pitch in some not-typical closer spots. On the road, tie game in the eighth, maybe down by 1 in the eighth, try to keep the other team there knowing that if we do come back and tie or take the lead he can run back out there for the ninth,” Servais said.

Servais’ reasoning has a lot to do with Diaz’s age and inexperience. After all, Diaz was a low-level minor league starter just a season ago, so he’s still learning how to pitch out of the bullpen.

“I think it’s really important people understand he’s not this seasoned, 29-, 30-, 31-year-old guy that can sit down there for five, six days then roll out there dotting the fastball,” Servais said. “He needs to pitch, and he’s still 23 years old. A lot of guys are still sticking around in Double-A at that point, and he’s in the big leagues. We want him to pitch, he’s one of our best pitchers, so he may be used in more unconventional spots.”

Notes

• The Mariners are doing their best to be patient with Steve Cishek’s return from offseason hip labrum surgery. The side-arming righty reliever is still working out his mechanics after three minor league appearances, and Servais wants him to be in tip-top shape when he’s finally activated from the diabled list. Cishek’s rehab assignment, which started April 17, can last up to 30 days. “When he comes up, we need him. We need him to be good right away,” Servais said. “Would like to use him in higher-leverage spots right away and want to make sure he’s in a good spot before we do that.”

• You can find the full lineups for Tuesday’s game in this post. As previously mentioned, Segura is set to make his return from a strained right hamstring, hitting leadoff and playing shortstop.

Date Starting Pitcher
Saturday, October 1 @ 1:10 pm

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
Sunny
High 75° | Low 55°
Roof is closed
Athletics at Mariners today at 1:10pm

Brent Stecker

Mariners Cal Raleigh...
Brent Stecker

The Mariners found the perfect way to finally end the drought

There was only one path for the Mariners to get back to the playoffs, and two products of that path delivered Seattle's clinching victory.
13 hours ago
Mariners J.P. Crawford Jarred Kelenic...
Brent Stecker

State of the Mariners: Where things stand with magic number at 2

The Mariners' magic number is down to two. We detail what that means, plus everything you need to know about the playoff race and the team.
3 days ago
Mariners Mitch Haniger...
Brent Stecker

Where Mariners’ quest for playoff spot stands after collapse in KC

How fans should be feeling about the Mariners' chances of ending their postseason drought in less than two weeks and how they are actually feeling right now are probably two different things.
7 days ago
Mariners Harry Ford...
Brent Stecker

Top Mariners prospect Harry Ford lights up WBC qualifiers

The season for the Modesto Nuts, the Mariners' Single-A affiliate, may have ended over a week ago, but one of the Nuts' best players is continuing to rake.
12 days ago
Mariners Luis Castillo...
Brent Stecker

Mariners Takeaways: 4 things to know as playoff push hits final turn

The Mariners have 20 games left, and they sit comfortably in a playoff position. A look at the rotation, standouts and the wild card picture.
18 days ago
Mariners Ty France...
Brent Stecker

5 things that stand out after Mariners’ huge series win over Guardians

The Mariners picked up a huge series win over the Guardians this weekend. SeattleSports.com's Brent Stecker breaks down five things to know.
1 month ago
Notebook: Taylor Motter’s emergence gives Mariners extra time to rest Kyle Seager