PEORIA, Ariz. -- Taylor Motter is known for being an extremely versatile utility man who has played every position except catcher during his pro career. But the Mariners like his offensive potential as well, and the 27-year-old Florida native flashed some of that Monday with a well-struck two-run homer off
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Taylor Motter is known for being an extremely versatile utility man who has played every position except catcher during his pro career. But the Mariners like his offensive potential as well, and the 27-year-old Florida native flashed some of that Monday with a well-struck two-run homer off Rangers starter A.J. Griffin in Seattle's 9-0 victory at Peoria Stadium.
Motter, acquired from the Rays in November, has limited big league experience and hit just .188 with two homers in 80 at-bats as a rookie last year. But the 6-foot-1, 195 pounder hit 13 home runs in 88 games at Triple-A Durham and batted .292 with 14 homers and 72 RBIs in 127 games the previous season at Durham.
The Mariners think the right-handed hitter could be a valuable weapon, capable of backing up a corner outfield spot as well as in the infield, and he's competing with Shawn O'Malley for the utility role.
"You see it in batting practice," manager Scott Servais said of Motter's punch. "Sometimes with Taylor, it's working into good counts and getting good pitches to hit. He does have sneaky power. You look at him and don't really think it's there, but he can drive the ball.
"We need to start getting him in more positions now. We'll start seeing these guys in the outfield here maybe later this week and get him comfortable out there."
Big man works quickly
Starter Drew Smyly was smooth in his three-inning start, but he was no match for Max Povse when it came to efficiency. The 6-foot-8 Povse, ranked as Seattle's No. 6 prospect per MLBPipeline.com after being acquired from the Braves, followed Smyly in relief and zipped through two perfect innings on just 14 pitches.
"He's a strike thrower," Servais said 23-year-old right-hander. "We knew what we were getting, and he goes right at the bottom of the strike zone with his stuff. Pretty good sink to the fastball. He had a lot more in the tank and wanted to stay out there, but we've got other guys to get out there as well."
Povse was 9-6 with a 3.36 ERA in 26 starts between Class A Advanced Carolina and Double-A Mississippi last year.
• The Mariners got seven pitchers some extra work in a "B" game against the Padres on Monday morning, and starter Rob Whalen threw two scoreless innings with four hits and a walk. Marc Rzepczynski gave up a run on one hit in his inning, and Nick Vincent, Dan Altavilla and Peter Tago all threw scoreless frames. Shae Simmons didn't fare as well, giving up four runs on three hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning.
• Servais said there's no timetable on when reliever Steve Cishek might be game ready, as he's still just playing flat-ground catch while recovering from October's hip surgery, but the manager acknowledged he likely won't be ready by Opening Day.
"I'm not ruling it out," Servais said. "I know he doesn't want to rule it out. But a lot of things would have to happen just right to have it break that way."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter [
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