SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Seattle newcomers Jean Segura and Mitch Haniger are set to bat at the top of the Mariners’ lineup to start the season.
Manager Scott Servais made the announcement Saturday. He said the batting order he used in Saturday’s 1-all tie with Colorado in the spring training finale would “probably” be his lineup for the Monday opener at Houston.
Segura hit .319 last season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, leading off in 147 games. The shortstop batted .341 in spring training, including two three-hit games in his final four games.
Haniger concluded spring training with a .385 average. The rookie right fielder also came from Arizona in a five-player trade in November.
Their strong showings forced the Mariners to adjust their initial blueprint.
Entering spring training, the Mariners’ plan was to bat speedster Jarrod Dyson, yet another new addition, first with Segura second. Haniger was going to hit sixth or seventh.
Dyson was setback by a hamstring issue and missed 10 games, but finished healthy. Dyson was acquired from Kansas City for pitcher Nathan Karns.
“I really like the way Jean Segura swings the bat,” Servais said. “He is obviously very comfortable hitting leadoff. Segura is a real threat when you turn the lineup over.”
“I think it is important with that extra at-bat when it flips around, I like to see Segura at the top and we’ll see where it goes after that,” he said.
Haniger, who hit .229 in 34 games last season with the Diamondbacks, had 14 extra-base hits in 24 exhibition games.
“I like what Haniger has done,” Servais said. “I think he’s shown the ability to understanding situational hitting. I’ve been very impressed with him.”
Servais’ lineup has Leonys Martin batting seventh and Dyson ninth. Martin stole 24 bases last season and 36 in 2014 with Texas. Dyson’s 30 stolen bases last season tied for second in the American League. He has swiped 30 or more bases in four of the past five seasons despite being a Royals’ spare outfielder.
Dyson said he if can steal 30 as a part-time player, he should be able to swipe 50 playing every day.
“That’s the goal,” Dyson said.
Add Segura’s 33 thefts last season and the Mainers have ample speed.
“Having Leonys and Dyson near the bottom, they can still create havoc and do what they need to do on base,” Servais said.
Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager, the Mariners’ three-four-five hitters, combined for 112 home runs last year. They all pounded at least 30 home runs.
Danny Valencia, who hit 17 home runs in 2016 with Oakland, and returning catcher Mike Zunino, who hit 12 home runs in 55 games last year, will bat sixth and eighth.
“I doubt if it will stay that way the whole year,” Servais said. “You’ll see mix-and-matching. Dyson may end up back at the top in a while. But right now, it’s kind of where we are leaning.”
NOTES: LHP Ariel Miranda, who will replace injured LHP Drew Smyly in the Seattle rotation, threw five innings, allowing one run on three hits, while striking out one and walking five. He threw 38 strikes in 58 pitches. “Miranda much better rhythm, a better tempo, just get it and go,” Servais said. “That was the focal point for him today was try to pick up his tempo between pitches and not think so much and he had good results.” Smyly is out six to eight weeks with a flexor strain. . 3B Nolan Arenado homered for the Rockies. . 1B Kyle Petty’s single in the seventh drove in the Seattle run. . Mariners LHP Dillon Overton will likely begin the season on a paternity leave. He is away from the team, waiting for the pending Tuesday birth of his first child.