PEORIA, Ariz. -- Center fielder Mallex Smith, one of the Mariners' key offseason acquisitions, will be limited in early workouts this spring by a sore right elbow that cropped up several weeks ago when he overdid some throwing work, manager Scott Servais said Friday.When the Mariners' first full-squad workout gets
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Center fielder Mallex Smith, one of the Mariners' key offseason acquisitions, will be limited in early workouts this spring by a sore right elbow that cropped up several weeks ago when he overdid some throwing work, manager Scott Servais said Friday.
When the Mariners' first full-squad workout gets underway Saturday, the 25-year-old speedster will be held out of the initial defensive drills, though he should be able to swing the bat and work in the cage.
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"We are going to slow-play him," Servais said. "He got a little overzealous and tried to do a lot of throwing right out of the chute, which probably isn't the greatest idea. He's going to be slow to start here in the drills and outfield play."
Smith was acquired in November in a four-player deal that sent catcher Mike Zunino to the Rays, and he is expected to bat leadoff and patrol center field for the retooling Mariners.
Servais said Smith's early absence will create more opportunity initially for youngsters like Kyle Lewis and Shed Long, who will play some outfield in addition to second and third base. Lewis is Seattle's No. 4 ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline, and he was the team's first-round Draft pick in 2016. Long was acquired from the Reds this winter and is the club's No. 8 prospect.
Braden Bishop, the Mariners' No. 9 prospect, was added to the 40-man roster over the offseason and is regarded as a strong defensive center fielder. He had a strong season at Double-A last year before breaking his wrist. Newly acquired prospects Dom Thompson-Williams and Jake Fraley have also played some center field, and Mitch Haniger is capable of shifting over from right field if needed.
The situation also could provide more early spring at-bats for Ichiro Suzuki, who is trying to make the team in left field at age 45.
Calixte only position player not in camp yet
Infielder Orlando Calixte, a non-roster invitee who signed as a Minor League free agent over the offseason, was the only one of Seattle's 26 position players who didn't report on time for Friday's physical exams.
Calixte, a 27-year-old who has played 31 Major League games for the Royals and Giants, remains in the Dominican Republic waiting to complete the visa process. Calixte played for the Giants' Triple-A Sacramento club last year.
The rest of Seattle's position players checked in and will be on the field for the first full-squad workout Saturday.
First impressions from initial bullpens
Servais said veteran right-hander Félix Hernández looked "rusty" in his first eight-minute throwing session off the mound on Thursday, perhaps fittingly due to the rain that fell that day. But Servais didn't sound concerned.
"Often times, the veteran guys know how to pace themselves a little bit and get their pitches in," he said. "It was rusty, but nothing different than what we expected. That's what Spring Training is for, and he's certainly been through a lot of them. He'll probably have to throw another side [session] on Sunday."
All 32 healthy pitchers in camp have now thrown one bullpen session and the first of the three groups, led by Marco Gonzales and Wade LeBlanc, threw their second one on Friday.
Some newcomers made a good first impression with Servais, including Rule 5 Draft pick Brandon Brennan.
"Our front-office guys were high on him and what he brings," Servais said. "As a Rule 5 situation, he has to make our team or you have to offer him back. So we'll keep a close eye on that one. And there are a couple of guys that had nice years in the Minor Leagues that we really didn't know too much about, Matt Tenuta and David McKay, guys we got right at the end of Spring Training last year that had nice seasons at Double-A, so you're always a little curious there."
Servais also noted that new additions Justus Sheffield, Justin Dunn and Yusei Kikuchi "all look pretty comfortable and healthy."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.