PEORIA, Ariz. -- Jarrod Dyson doesn't have much to prove on the basepaths this spring. He can run -- the Mariners know it, he knows it and opposing teams fear it.But the Mariners want to see whether the left-handed-hitting speedster they acquired from the Royals can get on base regularly
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Jarrod Dyson doesn't have much to prove on the basepaths this spring. He can run -- the Mariners know it, he knows it and opposing teams fear it.
But the Mariners want to see whether the left-handed-hitting speedster they acquired from the Royals can get on base regularly against left-handed pitching. If so, Dyson has a chance to be a lot more than the part-time player he was for Kansas City over the past seven seasons.
That goal resonates with the 32-year-old outfielder, who looks at his trade to Seattle as an opportunity to expand his role.
"I want every at-bat I can get," Dyson said. "I've platooned my whole life, and basically, I want to take that job and run with it. That's just me. That's my mentality. I'm stingy when it comes to playing time. I'm quite sure every starter is like that, but at the same time, I've been playing and backing up for the longest time, so it'd be great to start."
Dyson has never had more than 299 at-bats in a season, yet he has managed to average 31 stolen bases a season over the past five years.
Though Dyson says he's not pushing the running game too much this spring -- knowing the main goal is to save energy for the regular season, and to get there fully healthy -- he has stolen three bases.
"He can outrun the ball, and there's not many guys you can say that about," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "In my day, Deion Sanders could really fly. He didn't have the greatest technique or get the greatest jumps. He'd just take off and still get there. It's a special tool."
But can Dyson fill Seattle's leadoff role every day? Servais was encouraged to see a double off Reds lefty Brandon Finnegan on Saturday, and he's open to the idea of giving Dyson more than a strict platoon role in left field.
"He's hanging in," Servais said. "I think you will see him against left-handed pitchers. We'll pick and choose. He certainly wants to play every day. We're a different team when he's out there every day. You have to get on base and be a threat there in the batter's box as well. But he looks great. He looks really good."
While the Royals used Dyson almost exclusively against right-handed pitching, he had good numbers in limited exposure against lefties last year, going 11-for-29 (.379) with a .438 on-base percentage.
But Dyson's career line against lefties is .231/.305/.285. That doesn't stop him from aspring for the opportunity to be a starter.
"That's the goal," Dyson said. "I'd love to face every lefty I can. But we'll see how it goes. If I'm handling them pretty well, I'll stay in there on them. But I'm not even going to worry about it. It's not too big of a concern for me. It's all about how I'm feeling in the box when I leave spring.
"I don't care who I face. I'll face anybody. That's been my mentality for years, and it won't change."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter [
@GregJohnsMLB]() and listen to his podcast.