Ervin's stumbling -- and solid -- Seattle intro

September 6th, 2020

SEATTLE -- was riding an 0-for-16 skid when he ripped a line drive into the left-field corner to drive in the final run of Seattle’s 6-3 victory over the Rangers on Saturday night, so maybe it’s understandable that the newest Mariner got so excited he tangled his feet and fell as he rounded first base.

But Ervin had already been knocked down once in the past week -- designated for assignment after the Reds gave up on their 2013 first-round Draft pick -- so he quickly got up and hustled into second for the first extra-base hit of what’s been a difficult season for the 28-year-old.

Now the 5-foot-10, 207-pounder hopes to turn that sequence into a metaphor for his career, as he looks to regroup rapidly with a young team that wants to give him a look in the final weeks of this season.

If nothing else, Ervin took his initial stumble with the Mariners in stride and said his teammates didn’t rib him too badly about tripping up on the basepaths.

“They were actually awesome. To be honest, it’d been awhile since I had to turn first,” Ervin said. “They talked about it. I got a little strawberry from it. But I’ll take it any day, and hopefully I can get some more doubles like that.”

Ervin was regarded as a late bloomer with the Reds, finally achieving something of a breakout season last year, when he put up a .271/.331/.466 line with seven homers in 94 games. He earned the Opening Day start in left field this season but never got on track offensively following the pandemic shutdown.

The Reds added outfield help this offseason in free agents Nick Castellanos and Shogo Akiyama, then when Jesse Winker got hot against both left- and right-handed pitching, Ervin lost out on even his platoon role against righties. Out of Minor League options, he was cut loose and will now get a look from Seattle.

“Sometimes guys put a different uniform on and it’s a clean slate,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “He can kind of start over, and nobody really knows him here. He’s excited about the opportunity. He’s going to get a chance to play.”

Servais couldn’t help but smile at Ervin’s initial impression.

“We’re working on his baserunning a little, but all’s good that ends well,” the manager said with a smile. “He’s an interesting player. He’s got things to work on. I think when he spends time around our hitting coaches and our whole staff, hopefully we can tap into what he brings.”

In addition to his RBI double, Ervin threw out Isiah Kiner-Falefa trying to stretch a bloop single down the right-field line in the eighth inning, saying that was another play that helped break the ice with his new teammates.

“I’d been wanting to make a play all night,” he said. “I was hoping, 'When am I going to get my first ball?' Then I got a popup. But I was just out there kind of waiting, hoping to make an exciting play and just do something to show my defensive skills. I’m lucky I got the opportunity, and happy I capitalized on it.”

Ervin doesn’t have an easy explanation for why he hit just .086 (3-for-35) this year with the Reds, but he’s eager to turn that page.

“I don’t know what to pin it on,” he said. “I just couldn’t get in a rhythm. I don’t know. I just know that’s not me, and hopefully I come out here, get some playing time, and show you my true talents.”