SHANNON DRAYER

Mariners Notebook: Gilbert shines; updates on dings and dents

Mar 20, 2023, 5:35 PM

Mariners Logan Gilbert...

Mariners pitcher Logan Gilbert throws against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 6, 2022. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

It is without question “that” time of spring training. Dings and dents pile up as workloads and frequency are increased, and there is a good dose of soreness going around the Mariners clubhouse. This is baseball. It comes with the territory.

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Even before the Mariners hit the field for their Cactus League game Monday afternoon against the Brewers, catcher Tom Murphy was a late scratch from the lineup. In the not too distant past (and still for some other teams), announcements would be made in the press box in a timely manner with explanations of why a player was scratched or pulled from the game. The Mariners no longer do that in spring training, and do it with less frequency in-season. Answers must wait until the manager availability after the game.

Murphy was not the only question that needed to be asked when Mariners skipper Scott Servais talked, as Jarred Kelenic was replaced with a pinch hitter in the third inning. He didn’t appear to hurt himself in his one at-bat or in the field, and he gave a thumbs-up to the Brewers dugout when he left the stadium an inning later, jogging for a short while to get out before the inning started. It didn’t seem like a big deal, but with two hours to speculate, everything from a serious injury to a trade was proposed as the reason on social media. According to Servais, there was little reason for concern.

“He just had a little tightness in his quad or hip, the training staff said it was just best to get him out,” Servais said.

And the update on Murphy?

“Just a little bit of tightness in the left forearm,” he reported.

They will be the first two players checked on when the Mariners return from a day off Tuesday. For now, it appears they are dealing with just the latest ding or dent, nothing serious.

As for the game, a 7-2 win over the Brewers (box score), Logan Gilbert threw four scoreless innings, striking out five and not allowing a walk as he continues to make steady progress toward being ready for the season. His comfort with all of his pitches, the new splitter included, has increased with every start.

“That was probably one of the best days I felt with it,” Gilbert said of his new pitch. “If it stays where it was today, I would be thrilled with it for sure. It doesn’t feel like I am experimenting a ton, it feels like I can go to it when I want to.”

Andrés Muñoz made his first relief appearance in an “A” game of the spring and showed no rust after his slower start, striking out the side on a 100 mph fastball and two nasty sliders. He threw a few two-seamers that he said he is still getting comfortable with, something that surprised Gilbert.

“I wish I could add it to mine,” Gilbert answered, referencing his pitch repertoire, when asked about Muñoz’s new pitch. “It’s crazy. He was unhittable last year so with that kind of movement now, it’s crazy.”

Offensively, Cooper Hummel had another big day, belting his fourth home run of the spring and hitting a double.

After a rather bumpy day at first base Sunday, Hummel made a nice catch in right field against Milwaukee. The Mariners are trying to figure out where he fits in the field, but barring an outside addition before camp breaks, his bat might just force them to find him a place to play. With the current projected roster, it’s not hard to see his name in the opening day lineup at DH when the Mariners face Cleveland righty Shane Bieber.

Mariners notes

• Right-handed pitchers JB Bukauskas, Bryce Miller and José Rodríguez, catcher Harry Ford, and infielders Kean Wong and Leo Rivas were re-assigned to minor league camp before Monday’s game.

• Kolten Wong has been absent from camp the last couple of days for the very best reason:

• Tuesday is the Mariners’ second and final day off from Cactus League play of the spring. There is no work scheduled for anyone on the major league roster.

Mariners Notebook: Kelenic catches up to deGrom, Ray impresses again

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