SHANNON DRAYER

Mariners Notebook: M’s sloppy in Kirby’s 1st start; injury updates

Mar 4, 2023, 4:14 PM
Mariners Cal Raleigh George Kirby...
Cal Raleigh and George Kirby pause during a Mariners game against the Detroit Tigers on Oct. 3, 2022. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

You hear it over and over that spring training games, wins/losses etc., mean nothing. Other than the obvious (injury), there is something else managers don’t want to see: sloppiness. After commenting in his morning meeting with the media that he was happy to see relatively clean baseball the previous few days, Mariners manager Scott Servais was rewarded with three errors (Ty France, J..P Crawford, Alberto Rodriguez), a couple of misplays, and a wild pitch in a 7-1 loss to the Rockies.

Box Score from Saturday’s Mariners game

Yeah, it was a spring game but you could still hear a little disappointment in the Mariners manager’s voice postgame.

“It wasn’t great,” Servais admitted. “You are going to have those clunkers once in a while. Just didn’t play a clean game, we didn’t make the plays we usually do on defense. It’s one of those days you wash it away and come get ’em tomorrow.”

A France error and misplay on another ball helped lead to an early exit as George Kirby, who was making his spring debut, hit his pitch count with just one out in the second inning. The outing looked a lot like the first outings by Robbie Ray and Logan Gilbert – shake the rust off, try to find the command, notice the pitch clock, get your pitches in and look forward to the next one.

“The stuff was fine,” said Servais. “He came out in the first inning with a little more zip on the fastball (topped out at 96 mph) than he had later on. First time out, we didn’t help him a lot with defense, got to get him out of there.”

Kirby used the new splitter a couple of times with mixed results. One he got a batter to roll over on, the other he threw to the backstop. Still plenty of time to work on the pitch he would like to break camp with.

“I just want something that I could throw more like a heater with a little more deception, something with a little more depth,” he said. “Possibly get a little more swings and misses, some weaker contact.”

Ideally, the pitch would come in 8-10 mph slower than his fastball and fall off the table, giving him more vertical movement as opposed to his changeup that’s more horizontal.

Kirby joins Ray and Gilbert, giving the Mariners three starters who are trying to add the pitch. We will see where each goes with the splitter, but the early talk is Gilbert’s could be the more useful pitch with his current repertoire. Is it a pitch that Kirby needs? The Mariners seem pretty happy with his repertoire as it is, but with Kirby showing he could add a quality pitch last year, why not let him try”

“I think it’d be really good pitch,” Kirby said. “It’s good now that we’re all throwing it we can kind of take some things here and there from each other see what we’re missing or something like that.”

Mariners Notes

• Servais gave a rather extensive dings and dents update in his morning meeting with the media.

Of interest:

Dylan Moore is ramping up his workload having recently started running. While Servais doesn’t expect to put him in Cactus League games until mid-March, with minor league camp opening he will have the opportunity to get plenty of at bats on the backfields.

Sam Haggerty coming off a core injury has not played in a game since Wednesday. He has had trouble reaching his top gear in speed and the Mariners thought it would be best to give him a couple of days off from games. He should return early this week.

Evan White should return to game action Sunday or Monday.

Tommy La Stella who is dealing with a shoulder injury is at least 10 days away from appearing in a game.

Servais said there is no great concern with any of these players but worth watching as the clock speeds up towards opening day. Moore in particular is an important part of the Mariners plans this year as he is expected to see significant time at 2B and spell JP Crawford on a more regular basis than in the past. Mason McCoy has made a nice showing in the field behind Moore on the depth chart but the Mariners would be extremely thin at the position should something happen to Moore.

• Julio Rodríguez went 1-for-3, hitting a double off Kyle Freeland that left the bat at 112 mph and just missed going out. He is expected to leave for the WBC on Monday and will not be in the lineup Sunday.

• The Mariners take on the Brewers in Maryvale on Sunday with Chris Flexen set to make his second start.

Dipoto: 2 top Mariners pitching prospects are turning heads at camp

Date Starting Pitcher
Wednesday, March 22 @ 6:40 pm Dodgers' Ryan Repiot RHP vs. Mariners' George Kirby RHP

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