Mariners Notebook: Gonzales and Murphy show adjustments, White’s status

Mar 3, 2023, 4:48 PM
Marco Gonzales and Tom Murphy of the Seattle Mariners on Sept. 10, 2021. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

This is a spring of adjustments for the good friends and starting battery of the Mariners’ game against the Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields Friday afternoon.

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Marco Gonzales, ever looking to evolve, to add and find ways to befuddle while on the mound has been working on a new pitch, a slider, which would give him a sixth pitch in his repertoire. Tom Murphy, looking to get comfortable again on a baseball field after missing the majority of last season with shoulder trouble.

Gonzales threw 3 2/3 innings allowing three hits, walking two, and striking out three. Throw in an error and there was plenty of work to be done with runners on base.

“I saw a great adjustment,” said Murphy. “I felt his fastball command wasn’t usual Marco today, then he just came out and just started pounding his breaking ball. for him to do that mid game, that’s why Marco is so good at going seven innings. He goes out there, makes an adjustment when he needs to and all of a sudden the game flies by. His ability to adjust on the fly and have a feel for the baseball is second to none.”

While the fastball command may not have been what he wanted, the breaking pitches were instrumental in getting out of trouble. How much of the new slider was thrown was not disclosed and was recorded as different pitches on Statcast which is available at Salt River Fields. Gonzales himself was very vague on what he was doing with the slider he is introducing.

“That’s the idea, isn’t it,” he said with a grin.”I’m still getting the nail on that myself. I’m really still mapping that pitch out. Threw some successful ones over the plate for strikes. For me, it’s about the movement and commanding it and I’ve been happy with it so far.”

As for having Murphy back behind the plate again, that has been a bonus this spring.

“I love Tom,” he said. “As psycho as he is, he’s one of my closest friends. I mean, I’ve known him for a long time now. Seeing him back there just feels like it’s natural for me.”

The crazy eyes, the yelling, the cartwheel in the dugout, Murphy has been a unique and appreciated presence in his four years with the Mariners.

“He’s just an energy source in our dugout,” said Gonzales. “He’s kind of a wildcard, you don’t have to expect and I think that’s good for us. I think that lightens up the mood a lot keeps guys on their toes. And for me, he’s able to kind of pull the mask down and be really serious, too, which is good. So he knows what I need to do to be successful. And I think even sometimes better than I myself do, and so to have that voice out there is just priceless for me.”

Priceless for Murphy is the opportunity to be back with the club and while it hurt to not be able to participate in ending the drought and the post season, Murphy displays no bitterness or edge coming out of a lost season. Quite the opposite actually, the consensus happiest guy in camp.

“With age you realize I don’t have too many baseball days left,” he said. “I’m just trying to enjoy the hell out of it for sure.”

Murphy went 3-for-3 with a home run in the Mariners’ 6-3 win over the Diamondbacks. It was a good day at and behind the plate, but there is more work to be done to completely put his lost season behind him.

“I feel like baseball is always a game I have to keep up with my work on and try my hardest every day because it doesn’t come natural as it does for some others, but it definitely feels closer and closer,” he said.

Mariners Notes

• Evan White was scratched from the original lineup with soreness. Coming off two years of very limited play due to hip issues and surgery, Scott Servais said they are happy to be cautious with White.

“There’s nothing to be totally alarmed about,” he said. “The goal with Evan is to be able to be ready to go April 1 or March whatever, and if he did have some days he came in and just didn’t feel 100 percent, let’s talk about it, give him another day and he will be back out there. He went through the pregame routine, no issues there, we just decided to pull him back today he will probably be out there tomorrow or the next day. There’s nothing to worry about.”

• If you follow me on Twitter (and you should @shannondrayer), you might have seen that the Mariners had a little concert at their end-of-morning meeting today. With the number of musical Mariners in the clubhouse, Scott Servais decided it was time for a show. And a show he got.

With Penn Murfee on lead guitar, Pete Woodworth on bass, athletic trainer Taylor Bennett on drums, bullpen catcher Justin Novak on keyboards and Harry Ford on saxophone, a number of Mariners took the microphone, including Eugenio Suárez, who sang his favorite karaoke song, Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On,” or “The Titanic Song,” as he calls it.

The reviews of Geno’s singing?

“That is probably his worst ability if I had to guess,” said Murphy, a noted screamo metal enthusiast, with a laugh.

And the rest?

“A lot of patheticness. I have got to be honest. If they had listened to me and played some good songs they’d have had a chance,” Murphy said before finding a positive. “Actually J.P., I saw J.P. come out and kill it. That’s what I saw today. It was great.”

The Crawford performance was a surprise as he took the mic for a reggae number. I may or may not have made a few extra trips by the closed clubhouse during the concert and can confirm he was good.

I also was in the clubhouse earlier in the morning when several of the performers were warming up. A pretty cool moment for this former band nerd was to hear Novak play the opening riff from Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five.” I turned to another reporter and said it would be pretty cool if Ford picked up the melody not believing he would. Well, he proved me wrong and nailed it.

A most impressive clubhouse performance by an impressive young catcher.

• George Kirby makes his first spring start on Saturday.

Date Starting Pitcher
Sunday, March 26 @ 1:10 pm

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