Drayer’s Mariners Notebook: Reliever updates, why Pollock is back

Mar 8, 2024, 3:49 PM

Seattle Mariners Gregory Santos...

Gregory Santos of the Chicago White Sox on July 28, 2023. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

(Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

There’s plenty of news from Seattle Mariners spring training, and insider Shannon Drayer has the latest that you need to know in her latest notebook from Arizona.

• AJ Pollock is back in uniform with the Mariners. No, not as an outfielder, rather he’s in camp to assist with the coaches while learning a little bit more about the non-playing side of the organization.

“He’s going to step on the other side of the door,” explained Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais. “He’s going to kind of dip his toe in what goes on on the other side of the door.”

The Mariners have opened their doors in recent years to players who want to get a taste of coaching during spring training. Tom Wilhelmsen has been in a similar role since the start of spring training. Pollock dropped by the facility last week and talked with former teammates, staff members and club officials and will now be with the team through spring training. Servais, who touted Pollock’s veteran presence in the short time he was with the Mariners, says he is a welcome addition.

“AJ is a good guy who had a really good career,” Servais said. “I think he appreciated how we go about things and he wants to learn more about it and he reached out to us to come in and join us which I think is a good testament to us and what we do in our process, that a player that has been around and been in a number of organizations wanted to come back and he wanted to come back here. He’s going to learn a lot.”

• Reliever Gregory Santos threw a light bullpen Friday morning, the first since being shut down with lat soreness earlier this spring. By all appearances, it went well.

After throwing back-to-back days for the first time since his shut down, Matt Brash was not expected to throw Friday.

• On a related note, Ryne Stanek is expected in Peoria Saturday to take a physical and sign his contract.

Seattle Mariners Breakdown: Who is new reliever Ryne Stanek?

While his addition will bolster a bullpen that will be missing key arms in early April, his benefit should go well beyond the first month of the season. If everyone returns healthy they will have one of the hardest throwing bullpens in baseball with a minimum of four relievers capable of hitting 100 mph.

• The Mariners wrapped up their 3-point competition Friday morning and we have a champion. Congratulations to Casey Lawrence, who represented well for the pitchers.

“I want to thank my college basketball coach for telling me to quit and play baseball,” Lawrence said as he accepted the trophy.

The 40-man tournament featured divisional brackets represented by pitchers, hitters, coaches and staff. The final eight were Lawrence and Logan Gilbert, J.P. Crawford and Cole Young, Louis Boyd and Carson Vitale, and Connor Hughes and Jake Kuruc with Lawrence, Crawford, Boyd and Hughes advancing to the final four. The two winners of that bracket faced off against each other with Crawford posting a 14 in his turn and Lawrence 18.

The 3-point competition and morning shootaround has been a fantastic sight each morning at 8 a.m. with many players and staff coming out to participate or watch. I suspect we will see it return next year.

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