SHANNON DRAYER

Mariners Notebook: Ryne Stanek’s take on going from Astros to M’s

Mar 10, 2024, 5:28 PM

Seattle Mariners Ryne Stanek Houston Astros...

Ryne Stanek of the Astros during Game 3 of the 2022 ALDS vs. the Seattle Mariners. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

(Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Ryne Stanek wasted no time getting to work throwing his first bullpen as a Seattle Mariners pitcher shortly after his signing was formally announced Sunday morning.

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The first bullpen session went smoothly, as did his first walk into what was previously a rival’s clubhouse.

“It’s weird coming into a clubhouse in-division where you feel like you know everybody, even though you’ve not met them,” said the former Houston Astro. “So I came in the clubhouse and everybody said hi and they’re like, ‘Hey, glad to have you. Glad you’re on our side now.’ It’s cool. But then you’re like, I feel like I know you, but, like, I don’t.

“So it’s kind of a weird dynamic, knowing everybody’s face and knowing everybody’s name, and then not knowing them personally.”

The day got a little stranger when Stanek’s first morning team meeting featured a spelling bee. Mariners manager Scott Servais had warned him the meeting might be a different.

“He said that there’s a lot of kind of quirky things that they like to do. And I was like, ‘OK, whatever.’ And he’s like, ‘We’ve got a spelling bee now.’ Awesome. Cool. We’ll see where this goes,” Stanek said with a laugh.

Stanek got the feel immediately that the Mariners have a loose clubhouse, something he is onboard with.

“I like that the clubhouse is loose and I think that comes with a young team,” he said. “When the team is young, you don’t want people getting too tight. You play better when you’re loose, especially young guys so they don’t overthink everything.”

As for those Mariners who have been there the last few years, when asked about what he saw from the other side of the field, Stanek laughed and said the relationship between the two teams was what we saw: contentious. There have been some “knock down, drag outs” in the three years he spent with the Astros, but for his part, there are no hard feelings with the Mariners.

“I don’t think I ever had any problems with anybody,” Stanek said. “So it was cool. Everybody’s been super welcoming. It’s been fun so far. I told Ty (France) I think he’s barreled every ball I’ve thrown to him, so I’m glad I don’t have to face him again.”

Stanek has yet to get his full buildup plan from the pitching coaches, but he is looking forward to getting to work with a staff whose reputation precedes them.

Mariners Breakdown: Who is new reliever Ryne Stanek?

“Obviously they’ve taken a very strong interest in figuring out how to get the most out of guys, how to develop stuff, how to add really viable weapons to people’s repertoires,” he said. “Obviously bringing in a guy like (Luis) Castillo a couple of years ago was such a big add and a big emphasis on that is really good, and it’s a team that obviously from afar you see the stuff and then what the stuff is turned into, as well.

“As the seasons have gone on and they’ve added pitches and stuff to people’s mixes, and they’ve all been effective and worked well. As a pitcher and somebody that wants to get better, it’s a really cool thing to watch and now to be a part of.”

Seattle Mariners notes

• Stanek will take the place on the 40-man roster vacated by Jackson Kowar, who was placed on the 60-day injured list and will undergo Tommy John surgery later this week. General manager Justin Hollander announced the move.

Mariners officially sign Stanek, but Jackson Kowar out for year

“It’s a really tough blow for Jackson,” Hollander said. “I thought he was really starting to rise up in this camp and really fulfill a lot of the potential that teams have seen for a long time. I’m crushed for him.”

Hollander said that Kowar wasn’t terribly concerned first when he first felt pain, with the reliever thinking it was just a mild setback and he would be good in a few days. An MRI revealed an ulnar collateral ligament tear, however, and while a more conservative path of rest, rehab and PRP injections could have been taken, that could run the risk of further damage. In having surgery now, the hope is the recovery and rehab will be faster, and Kowar could be throwing in camp next year.

“Frustrated and disappointed for Jackson,” Hollander said. “He looked, as you guys saw him, awesome to start this camp and really felt like he made a leap, and hopefully this time next year we’re talking about in the same way.”

• The Mariners’ offense came out to play in their 8-3 win Sunday over the Giants in Peoria.

Seattle Mariners 8, San Francisco Giants 3: Box score

Jorge Polanco hit not one but two home runs, with the second going to the opposite field and coming with the bases loaded.

“I made pretty good swings today, which tells me the work that I am doing is working and I just have to keep doing it,” Polanco said after the game.

Cal Raleigh also had a good day at the plate, tripling in his first at bat and later adding an RBI double, and Ty France went 2 for 3 with a double.

Perhaps the most memorable hit of the day came off the bat of the Mariners’ second pick in the 2023 MLB Draft, Jonny Farmelo.

Way to go, kid!

• Starting pitcher Reid VanScoter has been reassigned to minor league camp and reliever Ty Adcock optioned to Tacoma. The Mariners camp roster is now at 54.

More on the M’s

Drayer’s Mariners Notebook: Reliever updates, why Pollock is back
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Mariners Odds & Ends: MLB The Show ratings, uniform notes and more
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Former Seattle Mariners catcher Mike Zunino retires after 11 MLB seasons

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