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Mariners' OF surplus a bonus for Servais

With four healthy players, lineups will be a challenge
MLB.com

SEATTLE -- When it comes to the Mariners' outfield, options abound for manager Scott Servais.

Right fielder Mitch Haniger was activated from the 10-day disabled list on Sunday to reunite Seattle's trio of rookie outfielders -- Haniger, Ben Gamel and Guillermo Heredia -- with veteran Jarrod Dyson.

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SEATTLE -- When it comes to the Mariners' outfield, options abound for manager Scott Servais.

Right fielder Mitch Haniger was activated from the 10-day disabled list on Sunday to reunite Seattle's trio of rookie outfielders -- Haniger, Ben Gamel and Guillermo Heredia -- with veteran Jarrod Dyson.

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Sitting one each night will be a tough decision, but a predicament Servais is happy to deal with.

"It's better to have 10 good players than not enough," Servais said. "We'll find time for all of those guys."

Matchups will likely dictate the combination in which they're used, but a player who is hot at the plate will earn priority. Right now Gamel is flourishing, hitting .408 in his last 14 games and going 3-for-4 in Sunday's 4-0 loss to the Blue Jays at Safeco Field to cap off an 11-game homestand in which he collected 16 hits.

"I'm just really sticking to my routine and just buying into it," Gamel said. "Highs, lows, don't matter. Just sticking to it."

The left-handed Gamel is also hitting left-handed pitching well. His .324 average against lefties, including Toronto stater J.A. Happ and reliever Jeff Beliveau on Sunday, will make it even harder to omit him from the lineup.

On the flip side, there will be cold stretches, as is often the case with a young outfield. Heredia has struggled of late, hitting .138 in June compared to .298 to start the season.

But it's also difficult to sit Heredia due to his defensive prowess. He's tied with Boston's Mookie Betts for the Major League lead in defensive runs saved with 11. His teammate, Dyson, is close behind with 10.

Seattle's outfield leads with MLB with 27 runs saved. Its next opponent, the Twins, are a distant second with 20.

Each have their strengths, but all four are versatile with no glaring weaknesses. But most of all, Servais enjoys the way they all play.

"They're not afraid of anything," Servais said. "They all do it a little bit differently. But they bring one thing to the table is that they play hard and they're pretty athletic."

Dyson, the veteran of the group with eight years of experience, has been impressed with the composure of the three rookies.

"I'm willing to teach them anything I know, but these guys are pretty smart," Dyson said. "... Heredia's been making plays, Gamel's been making plays, even [Haniger] had been making plays before he got hurt. It's a young bunch without that much experience, but the way they go about their business [is] like a veteran."

Video: TOR@SEA: Dyson charges in for a diving catch

The crowded outfield is not a concern for any of them. Winning and chasing a playoff spot take precedence over personal playing time.

"You can't worry about that. We don't make the lineup," Dyson said. "We just go out there and play. Whoever Skip decides to go with, the other guy that's not in the lineup will be cheering the other guys on."

Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle.

Seattle Mariners, Ben Gamel