Mariners Notebook: Kirby ready to put past comments behind him, Gonzales update

Sep 15, 2023, 5:15 PM

Seattle Mariners George Kirby...

George Kirby of the Seattle Mariners pitches on July 20, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The last time we saw George Kirby on the mound for the Seattle Mariners, he allowed four runs in 6 1/3 innings in Tampa Bay. After the game, he caused quite a stir by telling reporters he wished he hadn’t gone back out to pitch the seventh inning, where he have up two runs in an eventual M’s loss.

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The next day, Kirby addressed the media, apologizing for his comments. Mariners manager Scott Servais and president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto tried to downplay the comments, too.

Now, Kirby is pitching against the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday night in Seattle in his first start since those comments.

“We all say things at certain points in our life we wish we didn’t say or they come out out of frustration. It happens,” Servais told reporters before Friday’s game. “George has handled it the right way … He’s ready to go out and pitch tonight and put it behind him. So I’m looking for a really good six or seven innings from him. ”

“This guy’s a heck of a competitor. We’ve seen it. We’ve seen him step up on the biggest stages and go out and throw a ton of strikes and dominate with the stuff he has. It’ll be a good test for him tonight,” Servais later added.

It will indeed be one of the toughest tests of the year for Kirby and the Mariners this weekend against a Dodgers team that’s once again close to clinching the National League West. They have an elite offensive club, led by first baseman Freddie Freeman and right fielder Mookie Betts, who very well may win NL MVP this season.

“I’m looking forward to the matchup here. The Dodgers have a heck of a team,” Servais said. “The top of their lineup is loaded with guys that have quite a pedigree, and they’re putting good seasons together again, so it’s a good challenge for us. And knowing our guys, we will be ready for the challenge.”

Seattle Mariners lineup

Los Angeles Dodgers lineup

More Mariners notes

-Young outfielder Jarred Kelenic is back in the lineup after sitting out Wednesday’s game due to a foot injury. He fouled a ball off his foot on Monday, and it should be noted it was not the same foot Kelenic broke back in July when he kicked a water cooler.

-Veteran lefty Marco Gonzales was with the team Friday, and it sounds like that will continue to be the case for much of the rest of the season. Gonzales had surgery on his forearm and is out for the rest of the season.

“Just trying to do everything I can to be here to support the team,No. 1, to be around the guys,” he told reporters on Friday. “I feel like I just need to be around these guys. They’re fun to watch and I’m just trying to do my part to be here and support (them). As a guy that’s been here, I feel like that’s my job. That’s my role.”

Last year, Gonzales was part of the Mariners’ rotation as they clinched a playoff berth. This year, he has to watch from the bench.

“A lot less nerve-wracking, for sure,” Gonzales said of this year. “But I still feel as though I’m very much part of this team, trying to be involved as much as I can, trying to support everyone here, the young guys going through all these emotions. These are exciting times. It can be nerve-wracking times, for sure.”

Gonzales said he’s still working on strengthening his throwing arm after the surgery, and the plan is to start throwing in November, which is when he normally starts to build up for the next season.

Gonzales also spoke to the media about being the team’s Roberto Clemente Award nominee for his work in the community.

“It’s just a huge honor for me. I feel very humble in that I feel like it’s not about me, it’s about the people that we’ve tried to impact and do things around the community,” Gonzales said. “I feel like we’ve been involved in so much and we’ve just tried to ingrain ourselves in the Seattle area as much as we can. I feel like it’s been our home to us. We’re raising our babies here, we have family here, friends here, and we take pride in what we’ve done … I don’t want it to be about me. I want to be about our causes and things we’ve done.”

Gonzales said some of his former teammates helped instill community service.

“A guy that comes to mind is like Nelly Cruz, a guy who I was just fortunate to be around (with the Mariners) and one of the biggest hearts on the team,” Gonzales said. “If I could just embody a little bit of his spirit and guys who I’ve had that have come before me in St. Louis, the Adam Wainwrights of the world, guys that have inspired me give back, those are the people I’d like to thank, for sure.”

More on the Seattle Mariners

Lefko: A rookie is why Seattle Mariners’ AL West hopes are still alive
• How Eugenio Suárez keeps the good vibes in Mariners clubhouse
• Mariners Notebook: How Woo came up big; Kelenic’s other foot
• Start times for two Seattle Mariners playoff chase games changed

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