With game-time temperatures Sunday expected to be near 90 degrees, Mariners manager Scott Servais talked about some of the safety precautions his players took hours beforehand.
Drink extra fluids.
And stay as cool as possible.
Then the old catcher in Servais surfaced to tell of a hard-knock story of him learning about heat stroke the hard way.
Never miss a local story.
Right after Servais graduated from Westby High School in Coon Valley, Wisconsin, and after he was picked in the second round of the 1985 major-league amateur draft by the New York Mets, he went off to a high-profile tournament in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
It was at the National Sports Festival where he got an opportunity to catch a young fireballer from Michigan — John Smoltz.
“I remember I was catching in all-black gear,” Servais said.
Right before the 1 p.m. start, Servais started noticing things were going haywire.
“I missed three (pitches) in a row, and I thought, ‘Whoa, this is going way too fast,’” Servais said. “I was not all there.”
The coach came out to ask what was wrong. Servais said everything. So he was removed from the game before it started.
In the clubhouse, Servais said he removed all of his clothes. Ice was placed on all “important extremities.” He was eventually taken to a local hospital for extra fluids.
“(Heat stroke) got me,” Servais said. “I have always been very sensitive to it throughout my whole career.”
Mike Zunino got the start behind the plate for the Mariners on Sunday.
“Playing in Florida, and growing up there at the university (University of Florida), he has dealt with the heat before,” Servais said.
Valencia, Gamel don’t start: A couple of regulars were held out of the Mariners lineup for the series finale Sunday .
One was expected. The other was a surprise.
First baseman Danny Valencia (wrist) is still experiencing soreness. He injured his wrist a few weeks ago on a base slide, and Servais said he’s dealt with it from there.
“It calmed down a little bit and he tried to play through it,” Servais said.
Servais said Valencia, who is tied for the major league lead with four four-hit games, felt it flare up after the game Friday. After receiving treatment on the wrist Saturday, he was held out of the lineup.
Servais said he wants to give it one more day before the team’s off day Monday. Taylor Motter started at first base Sunday, and hit ninth.
“We would love to have him in there,” Servais said.
The injury that caught Servais a little off guard Sunday was outfielder Ben Gamel’s groin issue.
The manager indicated there might be a scratch and infection in the area. Gamel said he was taking antibiotics Sunday.
“I definitely don’t want to miss games, but if you’ve got to get healthy, you’ve got to get healthy,” Gamel said.
Guillermo Heredia took Gamel’s place in the lineup, and hit eighth.
Servais noted Sunday marked the 20th consecutive day the team has played a game. The Monday break comes at a much-needed time, he said.
“It takes its toll,” Servais said. “We’ve played well through it, and guys have continued to battle. It is a grind.”