There was no hesitation Thursday from Mariners manager Scott Servais when asked who had created the best early impression in camp.
“Mitch Haniger,” Servais said. "Very professional approach. He knows what he’s doing. He has a plan every time he’s in the outfield, on the bases or in the batter’s box. It’s a very professional approach."
The Mariners acquired Haniger, 26, on Nov. 23 from Arizona in the big deal that also netted shortstop Jean Segura and reliever Zac Curtis in return for pitcher Taijuan Walker and shortstop Ketel Marte.
Haniger, 26, retooled his swing two years ago and resurrected a stalled career. He spent much of last season at Triple-A Reno, where be batted .341 with 20 homers and 64 RBIs in 74 games, prior to a mid-August promotion to the Diamondbacks.
While Haniger showed only flashes of his potential in 34 big-league games, the Mariners, after acquiring him, made several subsequent deals that underscored their intention to clear a path for him as their everyday right fielder.
"He knows this is his time," Servais said. "He’s going to get an opportunity to play here. He's worked for it his whole life. We’re going to give in to him, and let him run.
"He’s taken it very seriously, and I like what I see. He’s been very impressive."
Servais fleshed out some of the Mariners’ tentative pitching plans after confirming Wednesday the spring’s first four starting pitchers will be lefty Ariel Miranda and right-handers Chris Heston, Yovani Gallardo and Felix Hernandez.
The starters are slotted for two innings.
Right-handers Cody Martin and Ryan Weber are scheduled to follow Miranda on Saturday in the Cactus League opener against San Diego at Peoria Stadium. The Padres plan to start right-hander Paul Clemens.
The Mariners’ plans for Sunday call for lefty Dillon Overton and right-hander Christian Bergman to follow Heston in another game against the Padres.
The piggyback assignments are more tentative for Monday against Kansas City in Peoria and Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox in Glendale.
For now, right-handers Rob Whalen and Dylan Unsworth are in line to follow Gallardo against the Royals, while right-hander Andrew Moore is scheduled to follow Hernandez against the White Sox.
The three games in Peoria start at 12:10 p.m. Pacific time. Tuesday’s game in Glendale starts at 12:05 p.m. Pacific time. All four games will be carried on 710 ESPN, but there is no planned television coverage.
The Mariners will play a competitive situational-hitting game Friday as the final tuneup for Saturday’s spring opener against the Padres.
The camp roster will be divided into teams captained by second baseman Robinson Cano and designated hitter Nelson Cruz. The teams will be determined by coaches Tim Bogar and Manny Acta.
The coaching staff will award points depending on the success in executing in staged situational plays. An example: Runner on third with less than two outs. Can the batter drive the runner in?
Cano and Cruz served as captains for a similar game last year when Cruz, as the losing captain, had to pay for lunch for the Mariners’ entire spring contingent.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners