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Notes: It's a working holiday; Kelenic bulks up

@gregjohnsmlb
July 4, 2020

SEATTLE -- Scott Servais is 53 years old and has been playing, coaching, managing or working in baseball since he was a kid growing up in Wisconsin. He can’t remember the last time he spent a Fourth of July without being part of a baseball game. Instead, Servais and the

SEATTLE -- Scott Servais is 53 years old and has been playing, coaching, managing or working in baseball since he was a kid growing up in Wisconsin. He can’t remember the last time he spent a Fourth of July without being part of a baseball game.

Instead, Servais and the Mariners worked out at T-Mobile Park on Saturday without fans or fireworks. Rather than a holiday celebration at the stadium, it was the second day of Summer Camp as the club gears up for the start of the Major League Baseball regular season on July 23 or July 24 following a 112-day shutdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s too bad we weren’t able to open up our season [on the Fourth],” Servais said. “That would have been awesome if it had all come together. It really would have been a rallying point for everybody around our country, and it’s something we certainly need right now.”

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The Mariners worked out again in morning and afternoon sessions, splitting the group in two to help keep players separated and socially distanced. After the long layoff, it was another welcome step. But the face masks and cautious protocols remain a stark reminder that things are different right now.

None of this is a picnic, or a typical day at the ballpark on Independence Day.

“I feel bad for a lot of people. The typical get-togethers on the Fourth of July, the family things, a lot of that stuff is being canceled or put on hold,” Servais said. “But around all those other things, it seemed baseball always weaved its way in there. Whether it was on the radio or you were watching a game on TV and how is the local club doing or you’re playing as a kid or a youth tournament, it’s always been baseball weaved into the Fourth of July.

“Luckily, we got to get out on the field today and work out. But it’s not the same as playing in a game.”

Not all hands on deck yet
The Mariners have acknowledged that several players tested positive for COVID-19 and some are still awaiting test results or clearance, so no official count has been given on how many players are taking part in the early workouts.

Dee Gordon and Daniel Vogelbach, two veterans who weren’t part of Friday’s initial workout, joined the morning session on Saturday. Gordon was the first player to step into the box against Justin Dunn in a live batting practice session to open the workout. Gordon promptly lined a single to right.

Kelenic bulks up
Servais was pleased with the conditioning of all the players as they returned from the long layoff and noted young outfielder Jarred Kelenic -- the club’s No. 1 prospect, per MLB Pipeline -- looked like he added even more muscle while working out back home in Wisconsin.

“I think they just issued him a small T-shirt, that’s what happened,” Servais said with a laugh. “He’s filling it out. He looked great. Anybody that’s been around Jarred knows how serious he is about his game and working to get better all the time.

“I think the way the ball was jumping out of the ballpark during some of these guys BP yesterday, they certainly have been swinging a lot. They’ve been in the cages, been able to get outside and hit. Some of the guys have had multiple live BPs against pitchers they knew back home or whatever. Guys are much farther along than I anticipated they might be.”

Intrasquad games next week
After a week of workouts, the Mariners will start playing intrasquad games Friday as they continue ramping up for the regular season. With no Cactus League games or competitions against other teams, the Mariners will split into groups for the informal game situations.

“They won’t be nine innings every day,” Servais said. “It’ll all depend what pitching we have available on particular days. We’ll probably play five to six innings that first day, and we’ll try to get our hitters live at-bats.”

Starting pitchers will get only two or three intrasquad outings to build up their arms, which means likely being limited to four- or five-inning outings to start the regular season. Servais said he’s hoping the everyday position players get close to 30 intrasquad at-bats before Opening Day.

The regular-season schedule hasn’t been released.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.