ANAHEIM, Ca. – Week 1 of the Mariners Clubhouse Insider Report is in the books and if you missed any, here are some of the highlights from my conversations with Mariners this week.
• It is always interesting, and sometimes painful, to see what happens when the team leaves the desert and all of a sudden are playing games that count. The atmosphere is different, the conditions are different, the clock is different. The switch is flipped and it’s a different ballgame. A manager is never sure what he might see from a young, or a new, player when the transition is made. In the case of young lefty reliever James Pazos, the skipper saw a player who perhaps was too caught up in the atmosphere. Servais told a great story about handing the ball to Pazos for the first time, and I followed up with both the pitcher and the catcher to get the full story.
• I also talked with Dan Altavilla, who is off to a terrific start. A new slider grip has given him even more confidence on the mound. And why not with the electric stuff he possesses. His first outing of the season was uneventful, a 1-2-3 eighth inning with a strikeout. Altavilla’s next time out, however, included a surprise in the form of his new catcher, Carlos Ruiz. Once again, things change in the regular season.
The piece also includes a clip from my interview with starting pitcher James Paxton, who was interested to see how one particular pitch would look in the regular season.
• Lastly, we hear from outfielder Jarrod Dyson, who received a fair amount of airtime this week turning in offensive, defensive and base running highlights. Dyson talks about wanting to be the M’s pitchers’ best friend and also gives a little look at the confidence level this team has, despite the early struggles.