Lee shows off some 'D' at first base

Slugger answers questions about his play in field

Lee shows off some 'D' at first base

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Dae-Ho Lee brings some big power to the battle for Seattle's backup first base job this spring, but there were questions and concerns about the Korean's defensive ability and agility given his imposing 6-foot-4, 250-pound stature.

But a day after launching his first home run for the Mariners, Lee started at first base for the first time in Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Indians and made several impressive defensive plays.

Mariners Spring Training info

While he went 0-for-2 with a walk at the plate, Lee opened some eyes with an instinctive play in the second inning when he deftly fielded a hard-hit bouncer to first and -- with runners on second and third -- immediately fired home to nail Mike Napoli trying to score.

"He made a great play for me," said starting pitcher Nathan Karns, who proceeded to get out of the jam unscathed. "To get that guy really set up the double play for the next at-bat. He did a great job there."

Lee and Karns wound up colliding at first on a play in the third when Lee dove for a ball to his right, then got to his feet and reached the bag at the same time as Karns after second baseman Shawn O'Malley had fielded Jason Kipnis' grounder and threw to both players standing at first.

Manager Scott Servais chalked that up to a Spring Training miscommunication, but was impressed by Lee's earlier heads-up play on the throw to the plate, as well as how he hustled over to second to take a relay throw from O'Malley that caught Jose Ramirez after he'd rounded second too far on a leadoff double.

"He was in the right spot that time and we were able to take advantage of it," Servais said "He's played a lot of baseball. His head is in the game and he's got a feel for the game."

Worth noting

• Right-handed relievers Evan Scribner and Ryan Cook, both bothered by sore lat muscles, were scheduled to see the Mariners' team doctor on Tuesday, and Servais said their situations should become clearer after that, though it's already apparent "those guys are still going to be down for a little while."

• The news is better on lefty Charlie Furbush, who came through his second live batting practice on Monday without any problems. Servais said Furbush is "very close" to being ready for Cactus League action after being brought along slowly following last season's shoulder problems.

• The Mariners are counting on rookie Tony Zych to be a key part of their bullpen, and the hard-throwing right-hander delivered an impressive 1-2-3 fourth inning with two strikeouts, looking much sharper than his previous two outings, when he'd allowed three hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings.

"Tony was outstanding," Servais said. "Probably the highlight. He and Joe Wieland really threw the ball well. That's what we expect out of Tony. It's hard to do that every time out, but he was really sharp."

• Wednesday's 12:10 p.m. PT game against the Royals at Peoria Stadium will be the first of a club-record tying 16 Cactus League games to be televised live by ROOT Sports. The game can be seen on MLB.TV.  Taijuan Walker gets the start for Seattle.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.