Mariners Notebook: First chance to see free-agent signing Chris Flexen start

Mar 5, 2021, 10:09 AM
Mariners RHP Chris Flexen...
Mariners RHP Chris Flexen is back in the U.S. after a season in Korea. (Getty)

The Mariners are sending the under-30 team to Glendale, Ariz., to take on the White Sox live on 710 ESPN Seattle at 12:05 p.m. Friday afternoon in what is scheduled to be a seven-inning game.

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Dylan Moore, 2B
Kyle Lewis, CF
Ty France, 3B
Cal Raleigh, C
Jarred Kelenic, RF
Jake Fraley, DH
Sam Haggerty, SS
Sam Travis, 1B
Braden Bishop, LF

Chris Flexen, SP

With Camelback Ranch all of 15 minutes away from the Mariners’ home at Peoria Sports Complex, this isn’t a case of veterans not liking to travel in spring training. This is just the Mariners, the team that finished 2020 with the second-youngest roster in baseball, only a couple of ticks behind the Padres.

The average age of the lineup Friday is 25.6 years old, with Jarred Kelenic the youngest at 21 and Dylan Moore the old man of the squad at 28. What jumped out when taking a look at the ages is they weren’t quite as young as I expected them to be – the 25 and 26 year olds a bit of a surprise, perhaps illustrating or reinforcing the impact of the loss of the 2020 season.

On the hill: 26-year-old pitcher Chris Flexen, who actually got to pitch a full season’s worth of innings last year in Korea.

The Mariners were able to scout him and others via video and with a scout on the ground in Korea during the shutdown last year. What they saw with their eyes was confirmed when they made a data trade with Flexen’s team.

The velocity had increased on all of his pitches, most effectively with the slider, which turned into more of a cutter. His curveball that he had thrown in the upper 60s to lower 70s in the U.S. also gained a little more “teeth,” according to Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto.

Flexen has been put right into the six-man rotation, but manager Scott Servais cautions that he really hasn’t had a ton of MLB experience and is not yet a finished product.

“One thing to keep in mind, he is still only 26 years old,” he said. “I look at it, he fits right into our group, he has had success into Korea, he’s looking to translate that over here.”

Mariners notes

• Rafael Montero, the closer candidate acquired in an offseason trade from Texas, was delayed getting into camp but will throw a live BP session Friday.

• Logan Gilbert is scheduled to make his first start of the spring Sunday against the Angels. Marco Gonzales will start in a B or sim game.

• Catcher Luis Torrens, who has been dealing with a cut finger, could return to the lineup Saturday as the DH.

Follow Mariners insider Shannon Drayer on Twitter.

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