PEORIA, Ariz. -- A Mariners team that ranked 12th in the American League in stolen bases a year ago will be off and running from the start this spring, if things go the way manager Scott Servais envisions.General manager Jerry Dipoto added speedsters Jarrod Dyson and Jean Segura in the
PEORIA, Ariz. -- A Mariners team that ranked 12th in the American League in stolen bases a year ago will be off and running from the start this spring, if things go the way manager Scott Servais envisions.
General manager Jerry Dipoto added speedsters Jarrod Dyson and Jean Segura in the offseason, and both will be encouraged to test their legs early and often, along with other Mariners as Cactus League play opens Saturday.
"They have the green light," Servais said. "They're just going to run nonstop, whenever they want. Just go ... being smart, obviously, and picking pitches, but we have to create that mindset with all those guys."
Segura stole 33 bags last year for the D-backs, and Dyson swiped 30 in a part-time role for the Royals. That figures to be an added weapon for a Seattle club that totaled just 56 stolen bases for the season.
"We're looking forward to doing a lot of damage," said Dyson, who will hit in the leadoff spot ahead of Segura when both are in the lineup.
Servais is eager to see what that duo brings, starting this spring, and he'll let them dictate their opportunities to run.
"I've never been around Jarrod Dyson very much to see him play. And Segura, let's see what their instincts are and how they want to do it before I step in and try to dictate anything," he said. "That's way better. It's their team, and they know when the best time is and how they feel out there, so we'll see how that goes this spring."
Dyson not limited to platoon
Seattle's new left fielder played primarily against right-handed pitchers at Kansas City, but Servais isn't pigeonholing him into strictly part-time duty this year.
"I talked to him yesterday and said, 'Hey, be ready,'" Servais said. "It's not going to be just straight platoon. I'd like to see what he can do against left-handed pitchers in Spring Training. It is the spring and keep that in context, but I'm curious to see what it looks like."
Dyson has a career line of .231/.305/.285 in 277 plate appearances against lefties compared to .266/.329/.368 in 1,262 plate appearances vs. right-handers. But he did post a .379/.438/.552 line in 34 plate appearances against southpaws in 2016.
The Mariners have set their starting rotation for the first five Cactus League games. Ariel Miranda throws the opener Saturday against the Padres, followed by Chris Heston in Sunday's follow-up with San Diego.
It will be Yovani Gallardo on Monday against the Royals in Peoria, Felix Hernandez on Tuesday against the White Sox in Glendale, and Drew Smyly on Wednesday vs. the Indians in Goodyear. All are expected to throw two innings in their first starts.
New lefty Marc Rzepczynski will be among the relievers on Monday, and closer Edwin Diaz and hard-throwing prospect Thyago Vieira are slated for Wednesday's game.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter [
@GregJohnsMLB]() and listen to his podcast.