SAN DIEGO — The lack of a designated hitter will remove a fair amount of power from the Mariners’ lineup for the two-game series vs. the Padres.
Even when they were playing with American League rules, manager Scott Servais had to get creative to find ways to get at-bats for Edwin Encarnacion, Jay Bruce and Daniel Vogelbach. Most nights there were two spots — first base and DH — for the three players. Now there is one spot — first base.
Encarnacion got the start at first base Tuesday night. Bruce, who felt his left quadriceps tighten up late in Saturday’s win over the Angels, still has some lingering tightness so they won’t use him in the outfield to get him in the lineup. But he will be available to pinch hit along with Vogelbach.
“It’s really tough,” Servais said. “It’s tough not to have Vogey in the lineup. He’s just been so consistent about getting on base. He’s driving the ball. We’ll use those guys in pinch hit spots if we need them. But this is not ideal. We are not particularly made for the NL game. Hopefully, the guys at the top of the lineup will drive the train.”
Servais said they will are discussing starting Vogelbach at first base for Wednesday afternoon’s game series finale.
“We’ll see how Jay is feeling and give Edwin a day (off) with the early start,” he said. “We’ll talk about a lot of different options there.”
Of the three players, Vogelbach has been the most productive, despite having the fewest plate appearances. He has a .327/.472/.836 slash line with four doubles, eight homers 14 RBIs and 15 walks in 72 plate appearances. Encarnacion has a .241/.354/.470 slash line with a double, six homers, 15 RBIs and 12 walks. Bruce is slashing .208/.287/.597 with three doubles, a team-high nine homers, 16 RBIs and eight walks.
Vogelbach has a played a total of three innings at first base this season, but he has continued to participate in the early infield work that the team has implemented. He’s the least polished of the three from a defensive standpoint, but he has improved to be an adequate defensive player.
The Mariners’ next set of road interleague games don’t come again until June 25-27 in Milwaukee.