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Lancaster, California —— Seattle Mariners outfielder Ben Gamel is on a rehab assignment to open the minor league season; inclement weather this week in Tacoma necessitated the Mariners move him from the Pacific Coast League to the California League to get his work in on recovery from an oblique strain, and he’s hit leadoff for the Modesto Nuts the past two nights on the road in the wind-swept Antelope Valley against the Lancaster JetHawks.

In eight plate appearances across the two nights, Ben Gamel has tallied two hits and two walks; he batted five times in Thursday night’s minor league opener as a designated hitter. On Friday, Gamel started in left field and batted three times before being lifted mid-game in favor of Seattle Mariners prospect Logan Taylor (who, coincidentally, I spoke with yesterday up in Lancaster about playing the outfield).

Ben Gamel, Seattle Mariners — Rehab Assignment Video

First things first — here’s video of all eight plate appearances taken by Ben Gamel the last two nights in Lancaster, from two camera angles and including a couple slow-motion swing clips at the end:

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Ben Gamel, Seattle Mariners — Rehab Assignment Notes

Gamel is a high-energy guy, and I didn’t realize how high-energy until watching him interact in-game with teammates in the dugout. He’s in high spirits even after the last-minute schedule change and trip to High-A, too. More importantly, he hasn’t seemed physically limited in any way, doing a full set of pre-game base running drills with teammates on Friday and showing no outward physical issue from game action on either day, even despite windy and cold weather. After being lifted mid-game on Friday night, he hung around the dugout and was still there late in the game after getting treatment — a nice change of pace with rehabbers typically disappearing down the tunnel after they’re finished.

Physically, he looked fine at the plate and ran very well on the bases. Twice on Thursday night he turned it up to max effort, first recording a 6.96 time to home, to score on a single, and later scoring from first on a double, legging out a 10.47 split. Both are good signs that he’s at (or near) full strength at least as foot speed is concerned. He also had a full-speed diving attempt at a fly ball in the outfield on Friday night, and though he didn’t make the catch, he came up quickly to throw the ball in and didn’t show any signs of injury after hitting the ground.

All good signs for the outfielder; a team official assumed he’d be in Lancaster with the Nuts for at least another day (Saturday night) but nothing official to suggest the rehab schedule from here. We’ll see what the Seattle Mariners end up doing, but it feels like the first two nights of rehab went about as well as they could go for Ben Gamel.


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Bobby DeMuro

Bobby DeMuro is the founder of Baseball Census. A former college and independent league baseball player, he now watches more than 200 games a year working full time for the site. You can follow him on Twitter @BobbyDeMuro for more.

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