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Mariners Yusei Kikuchi
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Mariners’ Yusei Kikuchi has strong spring debut, OF prospects swing well

The Mariners fell 6-1 to Cleveland at the Peoria Sports Complex in Cactus League play Tuesday afternoon, with most of the damage coming late.

Servais: Led by pitching, Mariners could be ahead of schedule in 2021

Mariners pitchers Erik Swanson and Jaime Schultz each gave up two runs, and Gerson Bautista allowed one in the seven-inning game. Yusei Kikuchi, making his first start of the spring, fared much better.

Kikuchi threw two innings, giving up one run on one hit and one walk while striking out three. The 29-year-old lefty looked very much like what we saw at the end of the 2020 season – perhaps even a little bit more under control with his delivery, which was a focus in his daily work this winter.

“I really focused on staying balanced, staying under control with my mechanics,” he said in his postgame video conference.

Kikuchi got two quick outs, including a strikeout of Indians leadoff hitter Billy Hamilton in the first, but was not able to work around a walk to Jake Bauers, who was driven with a double by the next batter, cleanup hitter Josh Naylor.

“He was a little amped up early with the fastball up,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said of Kikuchi.

Kikuchi, who topped out at 96 mph with his fastball, mixed in his secondary pitches in the second inning and was particularly pleased with what he saw from his slider. He is scheduled to throw three innings in his next start.

Offensively, the Mariners’ starters were limited to three hits, with Mitch Haniger hitting a solid double to left. Julio Rodríguez, who took over for Haniger in the sixth, picked up where he left off Sunday by scorching a ball up the middle for a single.

Fellow outfielder and top 100 prospect Taylor Trammell also checked in with a well-struck ball.

Mariners notes

• In his morning meeting with the media, Servais gave the heads up that pitching coach Pete Woodworth could push Paxton out of his Wednesday start for “scheduling” reasons and, and as it turns out they will go with Ljay Newsome instead of Paxton in Mesa against the Cubs. After the game, Servais stressed that Paxton is completely healthy and will most likely be scheduled to make a start in the next couple of days.

• Jarred Kelenic received his first starting assignment Tuesday, playing left field and going 0 for 2 with a strikeout. It’s worth noting that neither of the two pitchers he faced gave him anything to hit.

• Schedule alert: The Hot Stove Report on 710 ESPN Seattle has transitioned to the Cactus League Report and can be heard an hour before all Wednesday games during spring training. That includes a 6 p.m. airing this Wednesday.

Follow Mariners insider Shannon Drayer on Twitter.

Mariners Spring Training Schedule: Every game airs on 710 ESPN Seattle

Sat, Apr 10 @ 11:10 am
Starting Pitcher

Yusei Kikuchi