Mariners evasive on outfielder’s status

Ben Gamel is healthy, but remains in Triple-A Tacoma and the Mariners won’t elaborate on why.

SEATTLE — Ben Gamel is healthy. And he’s played nine games with 32 at-bats in his rehab assignment since straining his oblique during spring training.

So why is Gamel sitting during a rained-out Triple-A Tacoma game in Sacramento on Monday and not with the Mariners in Seattle?

“He’s in a pretty good spot ready to come back,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We’re just trying to do the right thing roster-wise. So that all plays into it.”

That could mean a lot of things that Servais didn’t want to get into before the Mariners’ played the Houston Astros on Monday at Safeco Field. And not necessarily designating 44-year-old franchise icon Ichiro Suzuki for assignment.

But it was a curious response.

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said last week it is likely the team would keep five outfielders once Gamel returns.

They’ve repeated, though, that these decisions are day-to-day, which is likely the truth. Injuries happen, extra-innings happen, and starting-pitchers-getting-shelled happens.

But the Mariners were first speaking with optimism that Gamel could have returned by the start of the just-completed series with Oakland. Then it seemed Gamel would be ready by the start of this Astros series.

Now?

“Gamel will play at least one more game down (in the minors),” Servais said. “Maybe a couple more. We’ll see.”

Servais said they avoided recalling the left-handed hitting Gamel Sunday and Monday because the Mariners were scheduled to face a pair of left-handed pitchers.

Gamel hit .275/.322/.413 in 134 games for the Mariners last season, including a .348 batting average in 56 starts from when he was called up from Triple-A in April to the end of June.

Guillermo Heredia was hitting .238/.346/.524 entering Tuesday and has been frequently used as a defensive replacement late in games for Ichiro, who was hitting .207/.207/.207 (six hits, all singles) entering Tuesday.

“There’s a lot of scenarios. I’m not sure which way we’re going,” Servais said. “It’s really day-to-day now. … If you happen to have a night where you go extra innings or whatever and you get a little thin in your bullpen that can dictate which way you go there, too. So we’re really just playing day-to-day right now.”

Gamel did play an inning at first base last year. With Ryon Healy (ankle) still on the 10-day disabled list it seems possible he could slide there in a rotation that currently has included Daniel Vogelbach, Taylor Motter and Andrew Romine.

“Possibly,” Servais said. “That’s not exactly at the top of the list. But he could stand over there if we needed him in an emergency. But, yeah, roster decisions and how they all play out, I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. Really, I’m just taking it day-to-day.”

Left-hander Ariel Miranda had a locker in the clubhouse and was there before the Astros’ game and he appears all but official to become the Mariners’ fifth starter when they finally need one on Tuesday. The Mariners have played each of their first 13 games with four starters because of how their off-days lined up.

“Right now tomorrow’s starter we’re leaning toward Ariel Miranda,” Servais said.

Though Erasmo Ramirez was also in the clubhouse. He is scheduled to start for Triple-A Tacoma on Tuesday in what could be his final rehab start from a strained lat muscle he suffered during spring training.

“Hopefully we’ll get him stretched out,” Servais said. “Would love to see him get into the sixth inning.”

And right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (shoulder surgery) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Tuesday and he was throwing long toss in the Safeco Field outfield grass before Monday’s game.

“He’s continuing to progress along,” Servais said. “If that (the bullpen session) goes well we’ll move into some live hitters and he’ll probably start doing some of that stuff on the minor-league side.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker compete in the rhythm dance program during the U.S. Figure Skating Championships Friday, Jan. 7, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
Local Olympians Baker, Beighton nervously await games with COVID-threat lingering

Jean-Luc Baker and Sean Beighton qualified for the Winter Olympics, but 1 positive COVID test could derail their dreams.

Washington guard Terrell Brown Jr. (23) breaks away after a turnover as Stanford forward Spencer Jones (14) looks on during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Huskies outlast Cardinal for 3rd Pac-12 win

Terrell Brown Jr. poured in 25 points and Jamal Bey added 17 for the Huskies.

X
Prep results for Saturday, Jan. 15

Prep results for Saturday, Jan. 15: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Los Angeles Kings center Adrian Kempe, second from right, celebrates his goal with teammates Alex Iafallo (19), Anze Kopitar, center and Matt Roy (3) as Seattle Kraken right wing Joonas Donskoi (72) and Seattle Kraken center Calle Jarnkrok (19) react during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
Kraken’s losing streak reaches 9 after loss to Kings

Seattle produced just 18 shots on goal as their losing streak continued to climb towards double digits.

Silvertips fall to rival Thunderbirds

Everett fell behind 4-0 before scoring its first goal and was outshot 45 to 19.

FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2015, file photo, Pittsburgh Pirates' Travis Snider drives in two runs with a single off Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jason Hammel during the first inning of the first baseball game of a doubleheader in Pittsburgh. Snider has agreed to a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers and will attend big league spring training. Snider, whose deal was announced Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, did not appear in the major leagues last season. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
Former Jackson star Snider retires from MLB

The 33-year-old spent parts of eight seasons with the Blue Jays, Pirates and Orioles.

Shorecrest's Parker Baumann gathers a loose dribble with Stanwood's John Floyd defending Thursday evening at Shorecrest High School in Shoreline, Washington on January 13, 2022. The Highlanders won 88-68. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Shorecrest boys race past Stanwood in key league clash

Devon Nehring has a career night as the Scots improve to 10-1 with an 88-68 win over the Spartans.

X
Prep results for Friday, Jan. 14

Prep results for Friday, Jan. 14: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Kevin Clark / The Herald

***Silvertips Special Sections*****
Yan Khomenko signals for substitution Sunday night at Xfinity Arena in Everett, Wa on September 6th, 2015

Sports:  Silvertips Special Section
Shot on: 09/06/15
Silvertips blast Spokane 6-2

Six different players scored as Everett rolled to another victory.

Most Read