SEATTLE -- Mariners manager Scott Servais is referring to this as a “season of opportunity” for many of his young Mariners. But outfielder Braden Bishop knows his own window of opportunity came open last year, then it slammed shut in a most painful way with a lacerated spleen from a
SEATTLE -- Mariners manager Scott Servais is referring to this as a “season of opportunity” for many of his young Mariners. But outfielder Braden Bishop knows his own window of opportunity came open last year, then it slammed shut in a most painful way with a lacerated spleen from a 98 mph fastball to the ribs.
So when Bishop was sent to the alternate training site in Tacoma, Wash., to start this shortened regular season, he understandably wondered if he’d get another chance to show what he could do at the big league level. That's why his recall to the 28-man roster on Wednesday was not taken for granted by the former University of Washington standout.
“It’s huge,” Bishop said Friday night after picking up his first hit of the season in the Mariners’ 7-4 victory over the Rangers. “I’ve reflected on it a lot. Last year, when I did come up, it would have been the opportunity, and I went out with the spleen injury. So that’s what I sat on all offseason.
“Obviously, I’ve had things happen in life where I realize how unfair it is and that bad things happen to good people. Just because you work really hard or are super diligent about it or you’re a great teammate doesn’t mean you deserve any more than somebody else. I thank God every day that I do get another opportunity because it doesn’t happen like that for everybody.”
After going 0-for-6 in his first two games, including three strikeouts against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, Bishop laced an RBI double to right field in his first at-bat Friday and wound up going 1-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs.
Always known as a defensive standout, the 27-year-old knows he needs to show he can hit consistently at the big league level, and he spent the past month working on that in Tacoma. He admits that it wasn’t always an easy situation, facing a variety of young pitchers in controlled game situations.
“It was very different,” Bishop said. “You’re facing guys you probably wouldn’t see for three or four more years. There were a couple at-bats I had where I was like, ‘Wow, I definitely wouldn’t have seen that sequence at Triple-A or the big leagues.' They’re just young kids, trying to throw their slider for a strike.
“But at the same time, it was a really good opportunity for me. Sometimes, the game or life will find a way to punch you right in the face and kind of have you sitting there like, 'What am I doing here?' You really have to reflect and soul search and realize why you’re playing the game.”
So Bishop dug in and made the most of the situation, and he was reminded again why he’s loves playing baseball.
“It just made me enjoy it on a different level,” Bishop said. “I’m waking up at 6:30 [a.m.], driving to Tacoma, no fans, facing Logan Gilbert at 10 in the morning. It was tough. It’s tough to be present and locked in there. So it was a challenge, and I’m happy I didn’t let that define me this year.”
Moore goes on IL
Utility man Dylan Moore, one of the bright spots of the Mariners’ first month, was placed on the 10-day injured list Saturday with a sprained tendon in his right wrist. Outfielder Jake Fraley, Seattle's No. 10 prospect per MLB Pipeline, was recalled from the alternate training site to take Moore's roster spot.
Moore began the season in a utility role, but he hit so well that he eventually replaced Mallex Smith as the regular right fielder. He’s also started at every infield position, as well as left and right field, and he hit .282/.364/.538 with five home runs, 10 RBIs, 16 runs and entered Saturday tied for the MLB lead with six stolen bases. The 28-year-old is one of just four players with at least five doubles, five homers and five stolen bases, along with San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr., Cleveland’s José Ramírez and Colorado’s Trevor Story.
Moore injured the wrist on a check swing in Thursday’s loss to the Dodgers.
“It’s not as serious as we were afraid it might be,” Servais said. “Hopefully, he’ll only be down for 10 days. It’s too bad because he’s having some kind of season so far and really grasped his opportunity as far as earning everyday playing time. He’s kind of the been the Swiss Army knife of players for me. You can put him anywhere on the field and he does a good job.”
Fraley will split time in the corner outfield spots now with Bishop and the switch-hitting Sam Haggerty. Tim Lopes can play the corner spots also, though he’s been the primary designated hitter after Daniel Vogelbach was designated for assignment on Wednesday.
Servais feels that the Mariners still have the versatility to cover things in the infield until Moore returns.
“You don’t have the one guy who can do it all, but Lopes has played second, third and done a nice job in the outfield for us,” Servais said. “Haggerty has played second, shortstop and all spots in the outfield. I think we’ll be fine. For backup at first base, we have Austin Nola, and you could also see Lopes there as well.”
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.