Seattle Mariners shake up lineup, debut Mitch Garver at catcher

May 29, 2024, 4:47 PM

Seattle Mariners DH Mitch Garver...

Mitch Garver of the Seattle Mariners during a 2024 game. (Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

(Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

SEATTLE – Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais shook up the team’s lineup in an interesting way Wednesday against the Houston Astros, giving veteran Mitch Garver his first start of the season at catcher.

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Garver was slated to bat eighth and catch for starting pitcher George Kirby. Starter Cal Raleigh was out of the lineup.

The 33-year-old Garver signed a two-year deal with the Mariners in the offseason, but the plan was to use Garver as the primary designated hitter due to his injury history. He has played 284 career games at catcher.

Manager Scott Servais said he approached Garver about getting some time at catcher over a week ago.

“Just trying to do some things to get him going a little bit,” Servais said. “He’s never been a full-time DH at any point in his career, and I think you feel like oftentimes you’re not really connected to the game and you also have too much time to maybe think about your hitting and your at-bats. So he’ll have some other things to think about tonight. Certainly he’s caught a lot of games in the big leagues. He’s really good behind the plate, good calling the game, really good receiver. So he’ll get an opportunity tonight.”

Servais said Garver could see limited action behind the plate Wednesday and that he’d be on a “pitch count” behind the plate. He added that Garver has been a part of all of the club’s catchers meetings throughout the season.

“He’s very in tune to what these guys do and what we determine their plan is,” Servais said. “… I don’t think that’s gonna be an issue at all.”

It’s been a disappointing start with the Mariners for the right-handed slugger, who entered Wednesday slashing just .171/.285/.316 with seven double, five home runs and 14 RBIs in 46 games. However, Garver has history of hitting better while playing catcher.

Garver sports a career .267/.351/.518 slash line with 61 home runs and 161 RBIs while catching compared to .203/.308/.390 with 26 home runs and 65 RBIs in 156 games as a DH. Those numbers were even more extreme last season with the Texas Rangers. Garver slashed .347/.426/.644 eight home runs and 26 RBIs in 28 games at catcher and .234/.326/.421 with 11 home runs and 24 RBIs in 57 at DH.

“This is not a situation where he’s going to go back and catch three or four days a week,” Servais said. “… We’ll see how it goes. Again, I don’t know what it’s going to look like. We don’t have big expectation one way or another. Just kind of take a game at a time.”

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