Mariners face Angels for first time since Servais, Dipoto hires

Mariners face Angels for first time since Servais, Dipoto hires

PEORIA, Ariz. -- There's no question that Mariners and Angels games this season should be interesting, given new Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais previously worked for the Halos and have brought several coaches and players with them as well.

But the first meeting between the two American League West rivals on Saturday at Peoria Stadium was a low-key affair, as you'd expect in a Cactus League setting the first week of March, with the Angels pulling out a 9-7 win in a game where the two teams combined to use 55 players.

"This is Spring Training," Servais said. "We have to play them 19 times this year. They've got a really good team and everybody knows that. It will be very competitive with them all year long. But it's Spring Training."

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Dipoto was Anaheim's GM for three-and-a-half years before resigning last July 1. He hired Servais -- who was in charge of the Angels' scouting and player development for four years -- as his manager.

Those two then hired Tim Bogar, who had been another special assistant to the GM in Anaheim last year, as the bench coach. Mike Hampton, who was the Angels' Double-A pitching coach in 2013-14, was hired as bullpen coach.

On the playing side, Dipoto has signed three former Angels -- catcher Chris Iannetta , outfielder Daniel Robertson and first baseman Efren Navarro.

Robertson and Navarro are in camp as non-roster invitees on Minor League deals, while Iannetta is targeted as Seattle's starting catcher after agreeing to a one-year deal with an option for 2017.

Iannetta didn't play Saturday, but Robertson started in left field and went 1-for-2 with a double, while Navarro entered in the seventh and hit into a pair of double plays.

The two teams play again on March 15 in Tempe, but things don't figure to get real interesting until their first regular-season meeting in a four-game series in Anaheim starting April 22.

Worth Noting

Stefen Romero did some light work on Saturday as he recovers from a bruised right knee after getting hit with a hard line drive while playing first base on Thursday. Servais said the leg is "tender," but there's a chance he'll be ready to play again by Sunday.

• After clearing up work visa issues, Korean first baseman Dae-Ho Lee made his Cactus League debut and singled in the eighth inning before immediately being lifted for a pinch-runner. The 6-foot-4, 250-pounder was a big power hitter in Korea and Japan, but will need to show he can handle first base well enough to be in the mix to compete as the right-handed platoon partner with Adam Lind.

"In small spaces I think he's fine," Servais said. "He's not going to have a ton of range and he's not the quickest of foot on the bases. You're buying the bat. You're hoping the bat plays and certainly handles left-handed pitching."

Boog Powell, the young outfielder acquired from the Rays this offseason, has quickly shown the kind of aggressive style of play and spark-plug nature the Mariners were expecting.

"He's certainly lived up to what I thought we were getting," Servais said. "He wants to play every day, he wants to be in the mix, he wants to have his uniform dirtier than everybody else's every day."

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.