Mariners notebook: Getting ready for game 1
PEORIA, Ariz. – While Cactus League games begin on Friday for the Mariners, Scott Servais plans to take things slow with a number of his regulars. With just three days of full squad workouts this year before the games begin Scott Servais wants to make sure his hitters are game ready before they enter actual games.
“You probably won’t see all of our regular lineup guys tomorrow,” he said. “We will give a couple of guys a few more days to get ready and run out there. We do have time, spring training on the position side is plenty long enough so I don’t think we need to rush out with the opening day lineup tomorrow.”
One player we should see plenty of is Dee Gordon. Gordon has been going all out to get ready for his new role in centerfield, going so far as to put himself out in center Tuesday when the middle of the order group was taking batting practice on a back field.
“He wanted to shag live off the bat with some of the bigger hitters,” said Servais. “Obviously the ball comes off Nelson’s bat different than it does than some other guys, so much more carry on the ball with the backspin. He handled it well.”
Servais has been pleased with what he has seen from Gordon on and off the field as he makes the transition to center.
“He wants to be a difference maker. He wants to win. He knows he has got to get to a certain level and comfort level in center field for that to happen for us. He’s all in,” he said.
The Mariners Cactus League opener can be heard tomorrow at noon on 710 ESPN Seattle.
-The Mariners will play a “situational game” this afternoon with the position players split up into 2 teams captained this year by Kyle Seager and Mike Zunino. Each team bats around in the “innings” with points given for doing the right thing offensively and subtracted for the wrong thing. Example, pull side home run with the runner on loses points for your team. Advance the runner with less than 2 outs gains you points.
Unlike past years Servais plans to have more than one situational game as he sees it as a way to up the intensity during the spring. Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz were team captains the last two years and there was plenty of back and forth between the two teams and as well as friendly wagers.
-I asked Servais this morning how much of an impact not hitting due to his hand injury this winter Ryon Healy might suffer and have to make up for once healthy. The biggest issue?
“It’s timing,” he said. “It’s not the swing. The swing is the swing, that doesn’t change that much. It’s recognizing the breaking ball. Seeing the velocity. I think we have to be realistic on the expectations. If he’s not completely ready, we don’t think he has had enough reps, he may not break with us. I don’t know. Right now I’m planning for him to be good to go but we will wait and see when he does get a bat in his hand and how quickly he can get up to speed, but we have got to be smart.” about it.
-Pitchers scheduled to pitch through Tuesday:
Feb. 23 vs. Padres–Miranda, Moore, Bergman.
Feb. 24 vs. White Sox–Leake, De Jong, Lawrence
Feb. 25 vs. Dodgers–Gonzales, Whalen, Bradford
Feb. 26 at Cubs–Felix, Povse. Newsome
Feb. 27 vs Padres (SS)–Paxton
Feb. 27 at Royals (SS)–Moore