PEORIA, Ariz. – With one full season under his belt since Tommy John surgery, Mariners southpaw Marco Gonzales is ready to reintroduce the cutter to his repertoire. It is a weapon that could have helped him last year, but Gonzales was committed to the decision he made with the Cardinals the previous year to take things slow and safe in his return.
“It requires a certain amount of arm action that was somewhat dangerous to my recovery,” he said of the pitch. “I wanted my elbow to be in a good place and I think I wanted to have a certain amount of innings under my belt before I brought back a pitch that could be potentially be dangerous to my elbow. I wanted to give it an offseason to be able to work on it and throw it right and bring it back the right way, so that was the thought behind it.”
Gonzales’ plan this offseason was to start early and go slow with the pitch.
“It was just something I had brought on too early in the past and I wanted to make sure I had time throwing it this offseason before camp started that I could build up strength with it build up a tolerance to the pitch itself.”
Mariners pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. pointed out that the cutter will most likely be the last pitch to come along for Gonzales this spring. He has been throwing it in bullpens and while it has been hit or miss early on, the most important thing is he has been able to throw it correctly and as a result not feel any discomfort in his forearm or elbow. Health is the No. 1 priority but Gonzales would also like to have the pitch back.
“To righties it is definitely something that is going to be able to give me some room in off the plate. Work it off my four-seamer and be able to attack the inside part of the zone,” he said. “My curveball is a great pitch and it gives me that left to right movement into righties, but having something a little sharper, a little bit later movement just adds a different element to my repertoire.”
Gonzales had a strong spring debut against the Dodgers on Sunday, allowing just a walk in two innings of scoreless, hitless baseball to help the Mariners beat Los Angeles 2-0.
— Mariners (@Mariners) February 25, 2018
• With Corey in the lineup at DH for the Dodgers and Kyle batting fifth and playing third base for the Mariners, we finally saw the Seager/Seager matchup in a game. The brothers had never shared the field together as professionals and Sunday was actually in doubt as Corey left Dodgers camp with food poisoning on Saturday. If that wasn’t enough for one game, the Dodgers had a pretty good lefty on the hill today as well: Clayton Kershaw.
• The report is good on Daniel Vogelbach, who was on crutches and in a boot Saturday after getting hit on the foot in Friday’s game. Further testing yesterday revealed that he suffered a bad bruise and no broken bones. He is expected to miss at least a few days.
• With Vogelbach and Ryon Healy (recovering from hand surgery) out, we will see more of Evan White, the Mariners’ first round pick in 2017. He is listed as an extra today behind Mike Ford and Matt Hague.