SHANNON DRAYER

Notebook: What Scott Servais makes of strong impressions made by Mariners’ young players in camp

Feb 26, 2019, 11:03 AM

Shed Long has had a strong spring already at the plate for the Mariners. (AP)...

Shed Long has had a strong spring already at the plate for the Mariners. (AP)

(AP)

PEORIA, Ariz. – The Mariners’ young players, both homegrown and acquired, have made an impression in big league camp.

Drayer: Yusei Kikuchi’s Mariners spring debut does not disappoint

From Shed Long’s almost daily extra-base hit and always good at-bats, to Kyle Lewis homering in his first spring game ever played professionally, to Justin Dunn’s poise, to the perfect play at first base and continued improvement of the power game from Evan White, to the attack mode displayed by Justus Sheffield, the sting of losing top veterans from the team is fading fast.

It is early – again, it is early – but Mariners manager Scott Servais, who has always been on board with Seattle’s plan to take a step back, has seen what he has wanted to see at the very beginning of the road toward the light at the end of the tunnel.

“The direction we are heading, certainly understand why we made the choice we did, we’re going for it,” Servais stated Tuesday morning. “People think we are not going for it – no, we are doing the opposite. We are going for it.”

Going for something bigger than a prayer for a one-time-only Wild Card spot in a tough division. It won’t happen overnight and most of the younger players that entice and intrigue in early spring will not be in Seattle in April, but the fact that they are in the Mariners organization with their tickets to the bigs open-ended will have Servais watching all levels of the minors with a different interest level and involvement this season.

“I’ll be truly connected to what’s going on from my seat. I will pay more attention (to the minors) than I ever have here,” Servais said. “There will be much more communication there from my seat. It’s always happening around me but I will be more interested. Certainly with young players who are excited all the way down to A-ball, (Jarred) Kelenic, Julio (Rodriguez), Logan Gilbert, some of these guys who are coming that really have a chance to impact us.”

What has stood out about the young players, and what Servais is looking for while he has the opportunity to have the young players in front of him this spring, goes far beyond what shows up on the scoreboard.

“It’s not so much just about the results,” he said. “Players love to chase the results – it is the doubles, the RBIs, the batting average, it’s a process. It is about C the Z foundationally, and teams that do that win and that is what we are focused on here. Ultimately putting winning players out there doing it the way we think it needs to be done.”

It all starts in Arizona, and according to Servais, so far, so good.

“A lot of positive things going on and we know there will be stretches in the season where it isn’t easy, where you are struggling and you go from there, but I think the future is pretty bright.”

Lineup!

Dee Gordon, 2B
Mitch Haniger, RF
Edwin EncarnaciĂłn, DH
Jay Bruce, LF
Kyle Seager, 3B
Daniel Vogelbach, 1B
J.P. Crawford, SS
Austin Nola, C
Braden Bishop, CF

Marco Gonzales, LHP

Gonzales should be on a pitch count of around 45-50 or three innings.

Game pitchers listed: Ricardo Sanchez, Cory Gearrin, Zac Rosscup, Chasen Bradford, Nick Rumbelow, Jack Anderson.

Notes

• CF Mallex Smith continues to show progress with his forearm strain. He is expected to be cleared to resume throwing early next week and could pick up a bat before then.

• Gonzales will be the first Mariners starter to throw a second outing, which may or may not be an indicator of what we could see in the regular season. Servais has yet to announce a rotation order. “We will probably sit down in the next 10 days and let guys know what we are thinking about the Japan series and when we come home,” Servais said, noting that obviously circumstances can force things to change between then and Opening Day.

Moore: FĂ©lix is at a crossroads, and his spring debut wasn’t encouraging

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Notebook: What Scott Servais makes of strong impressions made by Mariners’ young players in camp