Mariners Saturday notebook: Two new additions to the clubhouse
By Shannon Drayer
A new face in the Mariners clubhouse Saturday morning as Guillermo Heredia was seated at the locker next to Leonys Martin. The deal with the Cuban defector is not quite official as he has not passed his physical and been added to the roster as of yet but it should be just a matter of days before he is able to take the field. Scott Servais’ knowledge of what should soon be his new player is limited to the scouting report of speed and defense first, plus defender.
“I don’t know a ton about the player,” he admitted. “I know our scouting department was really high on him. I believe Jerry has seen him in a workout setting. We will just have to see how it plays out.”
Heredia has not played a regular schedule since the 2013-2014 season so it most likely will take some time for him to get his feet under him. He will not be rushed.
“It’s a lot to put on a player,” said Servais. “This is his dream to get in an opportunity like this to get in a clubhouse, to get around Robinson Cano and our team. It takes awhile for people to get comfortable. I think we need realistic expectations in this camp.”
Again, the move is not official yet. He needs to pass a physical and be added to the roster before he can take the field. A 40-man move will need to be made as well and that most likely will be Jesus Sucre to the 60-day DL.
The other addition to the clubhouse was of the four legged variety. No, not the puppy I am advocating for now that it seems wishes are being granted, but a pool table. Right smack dab in the middle of the clubhouse. A teaching tool perhaps? Not quite.
“It’s one of the things when you do the meeting in the morning is you get to know people better,” explained Servais. “A few days ago when I asked Tony Zych to stand up and tell us some things about him… he’s a hunter and he plays a little golf and then he said he plays pool.”
Some of the guys in the pen confirmed that Zych in fact was very good. Servais has been preaching having fun in the morning meetings. This was an opportunity to put someone’s money where his mouth was.
“Okay, what do you guys think of getting a pool table,” he asked.
There was a buzz in the room. Servais continued.
“Okay Tony, you’ve got three days. I want a pool table right here. And the room kind of went, ‘Whoa.'”
Zych was put on the spot. Was his manager serious?
“In the first couple of meetings he had the Springsteen concert idea (a group of Mariners is going) and he just looked real serious about that so I figured, I better just go get it. So I had it lined up that day.”
He knew exactly what he wanted.
“I probably got a mid-range house table but I upgraded the felt and the rails so it is going to play better,” he said.
Servais was impressed with the follow through.
“Tony said how much can I spend? And I said I don’t know,” he said. “Tony took it upon himself, he’s a serious pool player, he went to the billiards store. Yesterday when he told me it was done he handed me the invoice and I said that was awesome and we will bring it up in the room. One of the veteran players took it upon himself that he would take care of the cost of the pool table and that would be our second baseman.”
Zych, a Major League minimum guy if he makes the team, was relieved that Robinson Cano picked up the tab.
“At first I was, ‘Well that is going to be an expensive buy.’ I was excited though. I think it is a fun thing to have around. I’ve always liked being around them in general. They’ve always relaxed me because it’s always something you can go to. Hopefully it will be good in here, we will have a little tournament.”
Handing over the bill wasn’t the only uncomfortable moment for Zych with his new manager. Servais wanted the first game.
“Tony Zych is awesome,” said Servais. “I played the first game with him on there last night. I made one ball and he ran the table. He’s a very good player. He’s a shark.”
“He made a ball,” Zych said. “I felt bad at first, I don’t know, it was an awkward situation. I tanked one shot to let him get one and then he missed and I was alright well, I’ll see what happens.”
I have yet to see the table in action but it should get good use. The players will be allowed to play in the mornings and after workouts and games are completed.
“We’re not going to get consumed by it but it does create some competition in the clubhouse,” Servais said.
–Happy Felix Day. Like the past three years Felix is starting slower than the other pitchers. Today he will throw his first bullpen.
-Hisashi Iwakuma is scheduled to throw today but unlike the others in his group he will not be throwing to hitters in live BP. Instead, he will throw a bullpen.
“It’s a veteran thing,” said Servais. “I am letting Mel (Stottlemyre) develop a relationship with those guys, especially the veteran pitchers, the Benoits, Felix Kuma, those guys have been around they do know what they need to get ready. So I think it is important that we listen and Mel has done a good job touching base with them. You just want them comfortable. It is about when they take the mound in April.”
-The position players are healthy. Those coming injury and or off season surgeries are all a full go according to Servais. The only player who is being held back at all is Nelson Cruz who is taking it easy on his legs in the outfield.
-Ex-Mariner alert, Rickie Weeks has signed a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks.
-Another Ex-Mariners alert, Abraham Almonte, now with the Cleveland Indians, has been suspended 80 games for testing positive for Boldenone.