Mariners Notebook: Bryce Miller unleashes splitter; big day for bats

Feb 29, 2024, 4:56 PM

Seattle Mariners Bryce Miller...

Seattle Mariners pitcher Bryce Miller throws against the Dodgers in 2023. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

(Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Second-year Seattle Mariners pitcher Bryce Miller unveiled his new and much anticipated splitter Thursday afternoon against the White Sox, giving those who waited all winter to see it in game action a bonus look.

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“I was told before the game I only got to throw four. I threw zero in the first and I thought, ‘I’ve got to get all four in this next inning.’ I threw one to the first batter in the inning, four in a row to the third batter,” Miller said with a laugh.

A finance major at Texas A&M, it was highly unlikely this was a math error. After his fourth splitter thrown, Miller looked over at his manager and pitching coach, who put up four fingers and shook their heads.

“They were waving at me like ‘No more!’ And I saw that and said ‘alright.’ So I shook to another split and then gave him a heater, so I threw five,” he said unapologetically.

Miller knows he has to be careful to protect his arm as it learns the pitch but it was too enticing. He also knows he needs to work on his other pitches as well, and to that end they were strong. Miller came out of the gates throwing 97 mph in the first inning with the slider looking good as well.

“I don’t want to get splitter-happy too early,” he said. “I liked where the fastball was today.”

This offseason, Miller added the splitter and made an adjustment with his slider – the goal is to throw it harder and up the velocity a tick – to help him get lefties out.

“Last year I was rolling and they made an adjustment,” he said. “I had all offseason to adjust and I think I have more weapons now for rights and left to be much more competitive.”

For his efforts, Miller drew praise from his skipper for his two innings of work.

“Bryce Miller was outstanding,” Scott Servais said after the game. “I’m really happy with what that looked like today.”

Even the unsanctioned extra pitch?

“Bryce likes to keep it real,” Servais said with a laugh. “So he was giving me and Woody (pitching coach Pete Woodworth) a hard time today, but he got him out. All good.”

Seattle Mariners notes

• The Mariners’ 6-5 loss Thursday to the White Sox (box score here) was chock-full of highlights.

Third baseman Brian Anderson, who is in camp on a split major/minor league contract, hit an opposite-field home run in his first plate appearance as a Mariner.

Cade Marlowe had a nice game, driving in the Mariners’ first run of the game coming up with a first-pitch single to right after Luis Urías tripled ahead of him. Marlowe also doubled in his second at bat.

Top prospect Cole Young hit his first home run of the spring.

Andrés Muñoz threw all three pitches in his repertoire in his spring debut and hit triple-digits multiple times in his scoreless inning.

Jonny Farmelo, the Mariners’ second pick in the 2023 MLB Draft, made his first appearance in the Cactus League, getting the call up for the day from minor league camp. Farmelo took over for Marlowe in center field, singled in his second at-bat and stole second base.

• Earlier in the day, Servais said the club could provide an update on Matt Brash as soon as Friday. The right-handed reliever has been shut down with an arm issue.

• There was a nice buzz in camp as the Pitching Ninja visited camp.

More from Rob Freidman on the Mariners can be found in his conversation from Thursday with Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk, which is the final segment in the podcast here.

More on the M’s

Why Dipoto likes Seattle Mariners’ situation at third base
Mariners’ Julio Rodríguez details where his focus is for 2024
Drayer: Where things stand with Seattle Mariners’ bullpen
Raleigh: Mariners hitters ‘want to start pulling our end of the bargain’
Seattle Mariners’ Logan Gilbert details how his pitches could look different

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