Following Wednesday’s trade that netted outfielder Ben Gamel, general manager Jerry Dipoto said the Mariners wanted to "see where he’s at in September and gauge what that means for 2017."
Well…here you go. Gamel made his Mariners’ debut Friday night by leading off and playing right field in the series opener against the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field.
"Why not?" manager Scott Servais asked. "We’ll fire him out there. We’ve had pretty good success in going with the new guy. Sometimes, it sparks us a little bit.
"We’re looking for some help at the top of the lineup, and he’s done a pretty good job throughout his career at handling left-handed pitching."
Gamel said he’s batted leadoff "for a good bit of my career." He also noted that he’s faced the Angels’ starter, Brett Oberholtzer, in the minors.
"I’m just excited to get here and get with the team," Gamel said. "There are a couple of familiar faces in here. That’s made it a little easier. I played with Pat Venditte and (Vidal) Nuno."
The Mariners added Gamel, officially, to their roster prior to Friday’s game — two days after acquiring him from the New York Yankees for minor-league pitchers Jio Orozco and Juan De Paula.
Gamel, 24, was chosen Tuesday as the most valuable player in the International League after batting .308 with a .365 on-base percentage with six homers and 51 RBIs in 116 games at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
"Good outfielder," Servais said. "I don’t think there’s any one special tool. He controls the strike zone. Gets on base. He’s hung in pretty good against lefties throughout his career.
"He needed an opportunity. That’s what we have. Sometimes, you’re in an organization with other guys in front of you, there’s not much of an opportunity or chance."
Gamel made his major-league debut earlier this season by going 1-for-8 in six games for the Yankees, who deemed him expendable after acquiring outfielder Clint Frazier from Cleveland in a July 31 trade for closer Andrew Miller.
Frazier was the fifth overall pick in the 2013 draft and appears ready to push for time in a New York outfield that currently consists of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge.
"I’m anxious and excited," Gamel said. "I’m really excited for the opportunity and thankful for it."
Gamel’s name is pronounced like camel with a G. He is 5 feet 11 and 185 pounds. He bats and throws left-handed and is capable of playing all three outfield positions — and insists "it doesn’t matter" where he plays.
"I’ve played all three my whole career," Gamel said. "Wherever they need me."
Gamel is also known for his flowing locks and, coincidentally, the Mariners staged their "Girls Night Out" promotion at Friday’s game.
That was news to Gamel, but he observed that in leaving the Yankees, who have a strict policy on hair and grooming, that "I can actually grow it here."
September evaluations come in all forms.
SUCRE’S ARRIVAL ON HOLD
Catcher Jesus Sucre’s return to the big leagues is on hold.
It’s been an interesting 24 hours.
Sucre started Thursday night’s game for Triple-A Tacoma, which went on to clinch a postseason berth. He left the game in the fourth inning after being hit in the left wrist by foul ball.
Sucre headed for the hospital but not because of any injury. Instead, his departure was due to his wife going into labor. The Mariners recalled Sucre from the Rainiers on early Friday, but the child still had not arrived as of late afternoon.
"First things first," Servais said.
Sucre, 28, batted.273 in 29 games at Triple-A Tacoma after missing nearly three months while recovering from a broken leg suffered Jan. 17 while playing winter ball in Venezuela.
He has a .176 average in 84 big-league games over the last four seasons, including 1-for-8 in three games earlier this season.
RIGHT ON THE NOSE
Throughout his career, hitting coach Edgar Martinez put up Hall of Fame-caliber numbers by repeatedly hitting the ball on the nose. On Friday, one baseball got even.
Martinez was flipping balls in the batting cage to Guillermo Heredia, who smoked one off a side screen. The ball ricocheted and hit Martinez in the nose. He was assisted to the training room for treatment.
"I didn’t break it," he said later. "So I’m OK."
Tom McNamara has a new title and additional responsibilities.
After serving for nearly eight years as the Mariners’ director of amateur scouting, McNamara was promoted to serve as a special assistant to the general manager.
"I’m excited about this opportunity," he said. "It will allow me to spend more of my time on the part of my job I like best; that’s getting out and scouting players at all levels."
In addition to continuing to scout players for the MLB Draft, McNamara will now also evaluate and scout pro players. He was hired Nov. 8, 2008 as the club’s director or amateur scouting.
"Tom has shown that he is a keen evaluator of talent," general manager Jerry Dipoto said, "and this promotion will allow us to use him in all areas of our scouting operation: amateur, pro and international."
PLANS FOR PAXTON
Lefty James Paxton will get an extra day to allow the healing compound to set on his middle fingernail, which tore away from the skin in Tuesday’s start at Texas.
Paxton is now scheduled to test the treatment by throwing a bullpen workout prior to Saturday’s game. If all goes well, that puts him in line to start Tuesday against the Rangers at Safeco.
The extra day of rest for Paxton means Felix Hernandez will start Monday’s series opener against Texas on his usual rest.
The Mariners made it seven-for-seven Thursday when Triple-A Tacoma clinched the Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern Division pennant. All seven of the organization’s affiliates will participate in postseason.
Hi-A Bakersfield also clinched the second-half pennant in the California League North Division with a 5-1 victory at San Jose (Giants). The Blaze had previously clinched a wild-card berth.
Two of the organization’s affiliates are already in postseason.
***Peoria beat the Angels 4-2 on Thursday and took a 1-0 lead in the Arizona Rookie League’s best-of-three championship series. Right-hander Ryne Inman allowed one earned run in seven innings. The series continued Friday.
***The Mariners’ affiliate in the Dominican Summer League lost 2-1 to the Red Sox 1 club in 10 innings on Friday in the decisive third game of their best-of-seven semifinal series.
MORE MINOR DETAILS
Lo-A Clinton set a franchise victory total Thursday by rallying for a 5-4 victory over Burlington (Angels). The LumberKings improved to 84-52, which broke a 53-year-old franchise record.
The 1963 Clinton C-Sox (White Sox) finished 83-41.
More remarkable, perhaps, is this year’s record victory total comes one year after the franchise, which began operations in 1937, set a record for losses in finishing 46-93.
The Mariners recently extended their player-development agreement with Clinton through 2018. The LumberKings have been a Mariners affiliate since 2009.
It was 40 years ago Saturday — Sept. 3, 1976 — that the Mariners hired former Boston manager Darrell Johnson to be their first manager. The Mariners began play in 1977 as an expansion franchise.
Johnson, then 48, had been fired six weeks earlier by the Red Sox after leading them to the World Series a year earlier. He spent 3 1/2 years as the Mariners’ manager and compiled a 226-362 record.
Nelson Cruz returned to the lineup Friday as the designated hitter after missing the two previous games because of a sore left hand…reliever Drew Storen was scheduled to start a rehab assignment Friday by pitching one inning for Triple-A Tacoma. He is recovering from a sore shoulder and is eligible to be activated Sunday…the Mariners’ current rotation has starters from five different countries: Venezuela (Felix Hernandez), Japan (Hisashi Iwakuma), United States (Taijuan Walker), Canada (James Paxton) and Cuba (Ariel Miranda)…Leonys Martin needs one more homer to become the first Mariner with 15 homers and 15 steals (he has 16) in four years. Extra points if you remember Michael Saunders (19, 21) doing it in 2012. Ken Griffey Jr. did it eight times…
The Mariners and Angels continue their three-game series at 6:10 p.m. Saturday at Safeco Field. Right-hander Taijuan Walker (4-9 with a 4.19 ERA) is scheduled to face Los Angeles lefty Tyler Skaggs (2-3, 4.75).
The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on the Mariners Radio Network, which includes 710 ESPN.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners