December 5, 2022

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Servais, Acta, RHP Sewald out with COVID

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SEATTLE — The Mariners’ COVID-19 outbreak continued on Wednesday, with manager Scott Servais and third-base coach Manny Acta testing positive.

Both are vaccinated and must wait two days before undergoing another test. When they do, they’ll need to produce negative results on consecutive days and receive approval before returning.

Leverage reliever Paul Sewald was also placed on the COVID injured list, and righty Penn Murfee was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma to take his roster spot.

First-base coach Kristopher Negrón will serve as acting manager for Wednesday’s game against the Rangers, though it’s unclear if he’ll hold that post for the entirety of Servais being shelved. And hitting coach Tony Arnerich will take over Acta’s spot at third-base coach. And Tacoma coach Zach Vincej joined the big league team to take on Negrón’s first-base duties.

Additionally, hitting coordinator C.J. Gilman and special assignment coordinator Dan Wilson will be in the dugout.

Servais, Acta and Sewald are among the growing list of personnel who have tested positive since the season’s first homestand began on Friday. Right fielder Mitch Haniger and catcher Luis Torrens were placed on the IL in recent days. An additional dozen front office and support staff have recently tested positive and also have been out, according to sources. The club on Tuesday began requiring team employees to wear masks in restricted areas, including the clubhouse, and Servais had required the coaching staff to wear masks as well.

As for the outbreak’s impact on the field, this is the first year on the Major League staff for Negrón, who played in the Majors as recently as 2019. He joined the front office after retiring in 2020, overseeing the alternate training site during the shortened season, then was promoted to manage Tacoma last year and was voted the Triple-A West Manager of the Year after leading the Rainiers to the league title.

Sewald has picked up right where he left off after a dominant 2021, throwing four scoreless outings — including one inning in Tuesday’s 6-2 win. Murfee, who will be making his debut, is likely slated for lower-leverage opportunities, but the Mariners will need all the bullpen help they can get without one of their best arms.

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