Notebook: Mallex Smith finally gets on the field with his Mariners teammates
Mar 25, 2019, 11:37 PM
He didn’t get a hit, or more specifically one of the Mariners’ two hits in Monday’s exhibition game against the Padres, but Mallex Smith was happy to finally be on the field with his new teammates.
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A flexor bundle strain knocked Smith out before Cactus League games began in Arizona, so the opportunity to show he was ready for the regular season made the Mariners’ 8-0 loss to the Padres his biggest game of the spring.
“It was fun just to get back into the outfield,” said Smith, who came to Seattle from Tampa Bay in the Mike Zunino trade early in the offseason. “That run to center doesn’t get any shorter. It was good just to get to move around and really just playing with the team.”
Smith, who estimated he got about 20 at-bats in minor league games in Arizona while the Mariners were in Japan, admitted that his timing at the plate might not quite be there as of yet, but with more at-bats he figures to catch up quickly. He’s looking at the current situation as glass half full.
“I didn’t play a lot in spring. Where that makes me a little rusty in rhythm, it definitely keeps me ahead in energy and having a step on everyone being fresher,” he said. “That definitely plays to my part.”
Smith is also not dealing with the jet lag stemming from the Japan trip that may or may not have contributed to the Mariners’ lackluster play Monday. He did get an idea of it, however, from teammate Dee Gordon.
“Dee texted me at 12 in the morning and said something about tonight, and I didn’t know what tonight he was talking about. And then he said, ‘Oh sorry bro, I’m still on Japan time.’ I’m pretty sure it’s hard for them.”
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• Lackluster would be a good way to sum up the Mariners’ loss to the Padres Monday night. Starter Mike Leake was up with his pitches early and got hit hard by the Padres’ ‘A’ team, giving up six runs in the first inning. The offense as mentioned before managed just two hits. While no one in the Mariners’ clubhouse wants to make a big deal about the jet lag, I can tell you from first-hand experience it is very real. The consensus with those that I have talked to has been that the first two days back were relatively normal with the third and fourth days much rougher with more sleep disruptions. Here’s one of the few Mariners highlights from Monday: the outing of left-handed reliever Zac Rosscup.
Nice work by Zac Rosscup tonight for @Mariners including a pair of strikeouts. #TrueToTheBlue #WHEREiROOT pic.twitter.com/4pSX1CgzJ7
— ROOT SPORTS™ | NW (@ROOTSPORTS_NW) March 26, 2019
• The Mariners have made a pitching change for their final exhibition game against the Padres, set for 1:10 p.m. Tuesday. Félix Hernández was originally slotted to start that game but Wade LeBlanc will start the game instead. Manager Scott Servais felt it was important to get LeBlanc work in a game as he has not pitched since an intrasquad game the day before the Mariners left for Japan. Hernández, who started the second exhibition game in Japan, will throw a sim game Wednesday.
• Right-handed reliever Shawn Armstrong, who was placed on the injured list last week with a grade 1 oblique strain, threw prior to the game Monday night for the first time since the injury. He played a light catch from about 60 feet out and will throw again Tuesday. He is eligible to come off the IL on April 6.
• Boston has yet to announce all of its starters for the Mariners’ four-game, home-opening series. Chris Sale will start Game 1 on Thursday for the World Series champs, and after Wednesday we should learn about the rest of the order. David Price is scheduled to throw in a game Tuesday for the first time since he was shut down March 12 with norovirus. Red Sox manager Alex Cora said that they could get him into a game early in the Seattle series. Speculation is Price could start Game 2 on a pitch count, or they could go with Nathan Eovaldi.
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