Notes: Lewis on mend; Servais mourns Bell

March 27th, 2021

was held out of Seattle’s starting lineup for the fourth day in a row on Friday, a 6-3 loss to the Padres, but the Mariners are hopeful that the reigning American League Rookie of the Year will be ready for Opening Day on Thursday against the Giants.

Lewis, who awkwardly collided with the wall during Monday’s win against the Dodgers, has no structural damage in his knee, manager Scott Servais said, adding that Lewis won't play until he's fully recovered from the injury.

“It's not coming along as quickly as I'd hoped or Kyle or anybody else [had hoped],” Servais said, "so we are staying patient with that. He's not 100 percent and I don't want to put him out there until he feels like he's 100 percent. So that's why he's not in there.”

The timing of Lewis’ injury presents pronounced challenges for the Mariners. Even if he were to fully recover by Thursday, there’s a chance he wouldn't have garnered enough at-bats to maintain his timing. Prior to his setback, Lewis had just begun to heat up in Cactus League games after getting off to a slow start. The center fielder went 6-for-15 with a homer over four games before the injury, bringing his Spring Training slash line to .297/.386/.568.

“I'll take the advice of our training staff and talking with the player,” Servais said. “Hopefully he gets out there before we leave camp here, but the the focus is, let's make sure we're ready on April 1.”

The Mariners plan to finalize their Opening Day roster before Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Giants, Servais said, and Lewis is expected to be included. If the 24-year-old needs further recovery, Seattle could potentially move left-field favorite Taylor Trammell to center and include Jake Fraley among its 26-man contingent for the first series against San Francisco.

Roster decisions looming
Speaking of the roster, Servais said that he’s already begun conversations with players who will and will not be included among the Opening Day contingent.

The Mariners began aggressively trimming their spring roster this week, and among the most notable final decisions are the low-to-mid-leverage bullpen spots and the sixth starter battle, which has come down to Justin Dunn and Nick Margevicius.

“Each of those guys showed improvement,” Servais said. “If I had to say who showed more improvement, whatever, if you want to get into that game, I don't think anybody can deny Justin Dunn might be the most improved player in our camp, based on what we saw last year and what he was able to bring to the mound with him here in this camp.

“On the flip side, Marg is focused on trying to create better feel and be more consistent with the secondary pitches, and I think he did that. So, they both had bright spots in this camp.”

Long’s recovery
Second baseman Shed Long Jr. hit another skid in his road back to game shape when fouling a ball off his right toe during a recent live batting practice session. Long had already been stalled during his recovery from right shin surgery last September and hadn’t played in any Cactus League games. He had been progressing to running before his recent setback.

Long’s versatility allows him to play second base and left field, making him a prime candidate to contribute at the big league level in 2021, even if it's in a bench role. But no matter his value to the club, Long will need a healthy number of at-bats and defensive reps before being able to do so. That makes him a logical candidate to break camp in Minor League Spring Training, which begins after the big leaguers depart on Monday and will include games against opposing teams two weeks after.

“He needs to play, so I'm thinking that you probably need to spend a little time down here with the guys in Arizona to get up to playing speed before he would go anywhere else,” Servais said.

Servais remembers Bell
Servais was among the many in the baseball community mourning the passing of Twins bench coach Mike Bell, who died on Friday from kidney cancer at just 46 years of age.

Servais played with Bell for the Rockies’ Triple-A affiliate in 2002 and had many interactions with him when Servais was the farm director for the Angels in the early 2010s and Bell held the same role with the D-backs.

“I send my condolences out to his family and everybody close to Mike … I certainly know the Bell family very well,” Servais said. “And I just wanted to make mention of that today. It's sad news for great baseball family and a great guy. I feel for him and feel for his family.”

Ticket update
The Mariners have sold out their 9,000-capacity limit for each game of their opening homestand against San Francisco, as well as their Monday, April 19 game against the Dodgers, but there are still tickets available for the seven remaining games that they have allotted tickets for.

There is limited inventory for the April 5-7 series against the White Sox, the April 16-18 series against the Astros and April 20 against the Dodgers.