Notes: Long 'not there yet'; Trammell hot

March 8th, 2021

PEORIA, Ariz. -- , whose rehab from a surgically-repaired right shin has limited him exclusively to live batting practice and very reduced infield drills, will be slowed even further.

Yet to appear in a Cactus League game, Long has been dealing with inflammation in the shin that suffered a stress fracture that ended his 2020 season last September.

“We're probably going to pull him back a little bit,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It's just not responding great.”

Long entered camp on the outside looking in for second-base reps behind Dylan Moore, who has transitioned from the utility role to the everyday guy. But given that Long won’t see opposing pitchers in games or even have the ability to take infield practice, his status for the Opening Day roster as one of the Mariners’ three bench players is likely now in question.

The darling of camp in 2019 -- when he was touted as the club’s long-term second baseman -- Long went on to have a far more disappointing ’20, when he hit .171/.242/.291 with a 50 OPS+ in 128 plate appearances across 34 games. After his season ended, the hard-working, no-excuses Long downplayed the notion that the shin might have been impacting his offensive performance. But if the Mariners are still worried about the shin six months later, it seems like it could have very well played a factor.

“We want him to be 100 percent before he gets back into gaming, and he's not there yet,” Servais said.

Long’s ability to play left field and his left-handed bat make him a viable candidate to contribute off the bench in 2021, even if he has lost the reins on the second-base job. If he winds up on the injured list, that won’t be until the end of camp. From there, he’d likely be destined for rehab at the alternate training site and not Minor League Spring Training.

Trammell stays hot
Outfield prospect Taylor Trammell continued to make a case for the Opening Day roster with a 1-for-3 showing in Seattle’s 10-0 loss to Cleveland at Goodyear Ballpark. Trammell is now 4-for-11, with all of his hits going for extra bases, and he struck out for the first time on Monday. He also nearly came up with a nifty catch at the center-field wall on a ball hit by Andrés Giménez that wound up as an inside-the-park homer.

With Jarred Kelenic sidelined with an adductor injury and Jake Fraley's 0-for-10 start, Trammell is emerging as the favorite to be the Opening Day left fielder.

Ramirez clears COVID protocols
Reliever has rejoined the club after being out for seven days due to COVID-19 protocols, Servais said. The right-hander will need to throw a live BP in the next day or two, which would put him on pace for being installed in a Cactus League game possibly as soon as this weekend.

If healthy, the 25-year-old righty will likely be one of the eight relievers that breaks camp after impressing with a 2.61 ERA and 164 ERA+ and 27.7 percent strikeout rate in his first big league campaign in 2020.

In related news, the Mariners have received their COVID-19 contact-tracing devices that players and staff are required to wear while at the Peoria Sports Complex and during road games. They are not required to wear them away from the ballpark.

Tapia has strained oblique
Reliever has a strained right oblique, the club announced Monday, which puts his Opening Day status in jeopardy. The right-hander, who was claimed off Red Sox waivers in October, last pitched in Friday’s 2-2 tie with the White Sox, his second outing of camp. Tapia is among many relievers vying for a shot at the eight-man bullpen.

Paxton set for another sim game
will pitch another simulated game in Peoria during his scheduled turn through the rotation on Tuesday, and Ljay Newsome will start the Cactus League contest against the Royals.

Paxton has yet to appear in a spring game, but he is completely healthy. The Mariners are using him in sim games for now due to scheduling and logistics purposes. For example, No. 1 starter Marco Gonzales threw on the back fields Sunday instead of in the 6-2 loss to the Angels.

Mariners won’t make cuts until the end
Because Minor League Spring Training won’t begin until after the big leaguers depart for Opening Day on April 1, Seattle doesn’t have anywhere to send players that won’t be included on the 26-man roster. So their 73-man contingent will likely remain in camp until the final days.

“Throughout this camp, you'll start to see the playing time maybe diminished for a few players as kind of our regular or projected lineup starters get extended out in these games,” Servais said. “And you'll start seeing that this week a little bit, when the game affords us the opportunity to get that third at-bat for guys and allowing them to stay in the game for five or six innings. So, we'll start spreading our starters. As that happens, the other guys will still be in our camp, but they won't get quite as many opportunities here as we go deeper in camp.”

“Scones with the skipper”
Servais has been receiving scones from a Mariners staff member every morning as a fun nod to the Apple TV+ show “Ted Lasso” starring Jason Sudeikis, who plays a soccer coach trying to rally an English Premier League club into contention. In the show, Lasso presents his club’s owner biscuits every morning, which he coins as “biscuits with the boss.” So, Servais is enjoying “scones with the skipper.”

Up next
The Mariners will have a lighter pitching load on Tuesday against Kansas City, with just four pitchers listed after Newsome. The Royals have just four arms listed, meaning the game will likely be fewer than nine innings. First pitch is slated for 12:10 p.m. PT, and fans can listen live via a free audio webcast.