SEATTLE MARINERS

Watch: New DH Mitch Garver crushes 1st homer with Mariners

Feb 27, 2024, 2:19 PM | Updated: 4:46 pm

Seattle Mariners Mitch Garver...

Mitch Garver of the Seattle Mariners poses for a portrait on Feb. 23, 2024. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Another game, another spring training first for the Seattle Mariners.

Watch: Mitch Haniger homers in first at-bat back with Mariners

In Tuesday’s Cactus League matchup against the San Francisco Giants, new M’s designated hitter Mitch Garver did something M’s fans hope to see a lot of in 2024.

Garver crushed a center-cut, 2-1 offering from Giants pitcher Jordan Hicks way out past the wall in left field for his first home run in a Mariners uniform. It was a two-run shot, scoring leadoff man Dylan Moore, who opened the game with a single.

Watch Garver’s blast here:

Not only was it Garver’s first homer this spring, but it was his first hit, coming in his second game. Garver was the DH and hit third to start the game, which finished as a 10-10 tied between the M’s and Giants.

Mariners 10, Giants 10: Box score

Per Mariners insider Shannon Drayer of Seattle Sports, who was covering the game, Garver’s home run came on a 100 mph sinker.

“Velocity really hasn’t been bothering me this spring so this was a good test,” Garver told reporters after he came out of the game. “I have a pretty good idea where the strike zone is. I was able to get in a hitter’s count and situationally able to recognize what he was going to try to do to me and counter it.”

The Mariners signed Garver to a reported two-year, $24 million contract this offseason just months after he won a World Series ring with the Texas Rangers, an American League West rival of Seattle. He’s expected to be a key bat for the middle of Seattle’s order this season.

Power is a big part of Garver’s game. The slugging 33-year-old catcher had 19 homers and an .870 OPS in 87 games last season. He also hit a career-high 31 homers in 103 games in 2018. The underlying numbers paint a good picture in that regard, as well. Garver ranked in the 87th percentile in xSLG and 86th percentile in barrel percentage in 2023, per Statcast. He’s also a patient hitter with a discerning eye at the plate, ranking in the 98th percentile in chase percentage and 90th in walk percentage.

Injuries have always been an issue during Garver’s big league career, though. The Mariners plan to use him as their primary DH with little to no appearances at catcher, which can’t hurt in the effort to keep him healthy.

Garver wasn’t the only notable Mariners hitter to homer on Tuesday. Dominic Canzone, who was acquired from Arizona as a rookie in a trade last July, uncorked an impressive shot himself against the Giants. Watch that here:

What makes Canzone’s homer all the more impressive is he appeared to break his bat on the swing.

“I think he broke his bat on that one. You don’t see that often, ” said Mariners manager Scott Servais, who noted that the M’s are looking for Canzone to shrink his strike zone a bit. “When he does that, he’s a really tough out. He’s got power and even when he doesn’t square it up the whole way, you know, get it in the air and good things happen down here.”

The radio broadcast of every Mariners spring training game airs live on the Seattle Sports app, with many also live on Seattle Sports 710 AM and streaming on SeattleSports.com. You can catch Tuesday’s game against the Giants on tape delay at 6:55 p.m. Tuesday, which comes after the weekly Cactus League Report at 6 p.m.

The M’s continue Cactus League action at noon Wednesday at their home ballpark in Peoria, Ariz., against the Kansas City Royals.

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