PEORIA, Ariz. -- A day after having surgery for appendicitis, Mariners utility player Shawn O'Malley was back in the team's spring training complex on Wednesday morning.
O'Malley has been competing with Taylor Motter and Mike Freeman for Seattle's primary bench role on the roster. Though completely out of his control, the surgery will keep O'Malley out for many days and undoubtedly hurts his chances to win the job.
"We needed a utility guy, whether it was going to be O'Malley or Freeman or Motter," manager Scott Servais said. "One of those guys will still win the job. Looks like Shawn will be behind the 8-ball a little bit now just because he's going to miss some time."
O'Malley was gingerly walking through the clubhouse Wednesday morning. Teammates frequently approached him upon seeing him to check on his well-being. O'Malley's stock response was that he was doing good.
"The surgery went fine. He should recover and it won't be an issue," Servais said. "But, obviously, any time you have a little surgery, it's going to take a little time to get back healthy."
"It's too bad. Timing is everything in this game. Stuff happens. It's out of your control. You take care of it and go from there."
O'Malley has hit .278 this spring with a .333 on-base percentage in 16 Cactus League games.
"He'd played very well. Done a nice job at shortstop and wherever we've put him. We all know what Shawn brings. It's the high-energy, great effort every time he's out there. ... Understand what he brings, we value it. Like I said, hopefully he can get healthy and get back on the field as soon as possible."
The issue has paved the way for Motter to be in the driver's seat for the bench role on opening day. Motter has hit .324 entering Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Angels in 16 games. He's had two doubles, a home run and has posted a .435 on-base percentage.
Yovani Gallardo gets start in minor league game against Royals:
Since his first start of the regular season would come against the Los Angeles Angels, the Mariners had starter Yovani Gallardo make his start in a minor league game against the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday.
"Gallardo threw the ball pretty well from what I heard," Servais said. "... He got something out of it, got his pitches in and thought the stuff was pretty good."
Gallardo pitched into the fifth inning and tossed 77 pitches against Kansas City. He allowed three runs on four hits with a walk, two home runs allowed and seven strikeouts.
"It was good," Gallardo said. "I felt good. I got my work in."
In the major league game against the Angels, the Mariners fell 9-8.
Seattle fell behind 7-0 as Mariners' hitters couldn't solve Angels starter Yusmeiro Petit. Mariners starter Cody Martin gave up back-to-back homers to Ben Revere and Eric Young Jr. in the second inning as the Angels built a commanding lead.
"Cody usually does a really good job just attacking the strike zone and throwing strikes and today he was just off, behind in a lot of counts," Servais said.
Jean Segura got Seattle on the board with a two-run home run in the sixth inning. Guillermo Heredia and Danny Valencia doubled in a pair of runs in the seventh, and minor leaguers Luis Rengifo, Eric Filia and Tyler Smith drove in three more runs in the eighth inning to close the gap to 9-8.
Photo Credit: PEORIA, AZ - MARCH 05: Kyle Seager #15 and Shawn O'Malley #36 of the Seattle Mariners ride to the field on a golf cart prior to the spring training game against the Oakland Athletics at Peoria Stadium on March 5, 2017 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)