Gamel to see plenty of playing time down stretch

'He's very athletic. I like what I've seen so far,' Servais says

Gamel to see plenty of playing time down stretch

SEATTLE -- As the Mariners head down the stretch with their final three-and-a-half weeks of the season, expect to see Ben Gamel's name in the lineup on a regular basis.

The 24-year-old rookie, acquired by trade from the Yankees a week ago, got the start in right field again Wednesday night against the Rangers despite Tuesday's return of veteran Norichika Aoki from Triple-A Tacoma.

The left-handed hitting Gamel, Aoki and Seth Smith will divide time against right-handed starters in the two corner outfield spots. It was Smith leading off and playing left field on Wednesday and Gamel in right field at the bottom of the lineup.

"We're going to really look at those corner outfield spots against right-handed pitching," manager Scott Servais said. "We've got the three guys. I do think we owe an opportunity to find out what Ben Gamel can do. So he's going to play.

"It doesn't mean he's going to play every day, but I want to try to get him in there and see what we've got. I think it's the right thing to do for our organization. The other guys we'll get in there as they fit."

Since his acquisition for two Minor League pitchers, Gamel has started four games and pinch-hit in the other two. He hasn't hit much yet -- 1-for-12 in his limited time going into Wednesday's game -- but he's walked four times, scored twice and made several excellent catches in the field.

Gamel's diving catch

Gamel had been outstanding in Triple-A the past two years for the Yankees and was the International League MVP this year for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but there is an adjustment to big league pitching.

"It's definitely a jump," said the Florida native. "There's not as many pitches on the plate. Everything is on the corner here or corner there. You just have to lock in more."

Despite the slow offensive start, Servais said his first impression has been positive.

"For me, he's pretty much as advertised," Servais said. "He plays the good defense and has a really good idea of the strike zone. You'll see him play a lot here as we continue to move forward and we'll find out what we've got. He has hit a couple balls hard, he could have a couple more hits than he's got. But he's been getting on base and I like the quality of at-bats. We need to work the bunt game a little more into his game because he can run. You can see that. He's very athletic. I like what I've seen so far."

After being drafted by the Yankees in the 10th round in 2010 and spending his first six seasons of pro ball in that organization, Gamel admitted it was a bit of a shock to be traded, particularly at this point in the season. But with change comes a new chance and the Mariners are definitely going to give him that in the coming days.

"Yeah, it kind of came out of nowhere, but I'm really thankful for the opportunity," Gamel said. "Definitely the confidence they've shown in me has made the step a little easier. It's really just learning the guys now and being around them and feeling everything out."

Worth noting

• Right-hander Nathan Karns, out since July 30 with a back injury, played catch in the outfield on Wednesday afternoon as he began throwing for the first time in five weeks. But Karns is on the 60-day DL until Sept. 29, so his return is unlikely this season.

"The fact he's been down so long, to get any kind of throwing program and arm strength up would be very challenging at this point in the season," Servais said. "I don't want to discourage him from shooting for it, but it would be tough."

• With Kyle Seager hitting his 26th home run on Tuesday and Corey Seager sitting at 24 for the Dodgers, the Seagers are the first brothers to hit 50 or more homers in a season since Justin Upton (31) and Melvin Upton Jr. (23) in '11.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.