Mariners notebook: Chase De Jong ready for opportunity; Ariel Miranda strong in 2nd outing
PEORIA, Ariz. – The newest Mariners trade acquisition, pitcher Chase De Jong, has been through this before, being dealt from the Blue Jays organization to the Dodgers midseason in 2015.
“It did feel a little bit like that, but it was a little bit more of a high-caliber team walking into the big league clubhouse than walking into a high-A ball team,” De Jong said, comparing his first day in the Mariners’ clubhouse with his arrival to a Dodgers’ Single-A affiliate. “Seeing Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Felix Hernandez – it’s a star-studded team. There are a lot of really good arms and really good bats and phenomenal baseball players in this locker room, and I am excited to be a part of it now.”
De Jong, who was acquired from the Dodgers on Wednesday night, is slated to start the season at Triple-A Tacoma. On “The Cactus League Report” shortly after the trade, general manager Jerry Dipoto called De Jong a strike thrower who was quite similar to Andrew Moore, who is also slated to start at Tacoma and expected to help the big league team at some point of the season.
We should see a good amount of De Jong, who posted a 14-5 record with a 2.86 ERA at Double-A last year, this spring with Felix Hernandez and Yovani Gallardo leaving for the World Baseball Classic this weekend. De Jong, who was on the Netherlands’ roster but declined to pitch, looks forward to getting on the hill in a Mariners uniform.
“Right now those guys leaving is going to create an opportunity to show what I can do,” he said. “Nobody has really seen me. For them to see me with their own eyes, I think that would be important, and I just want to make the most of that opportunity.”
De Jong will most likely make his Mariners spring debut in one of the split-squad games Sunday.
• The Mariners beat the Brewers 6-2 on Thursday to improve to 5-1 in Cactus League play. Ariel Miranda made his second start of the spring, giving up one run in three innings courtesy of a sun-double that Tyler O’Neill never saw. Miranda said he was rushing in his early innings but settled down as the game went on. He was working on his slider, something that manager Scott Servais was happy to see him continue to go to despite the early struggle. “He was a little quick through his delivery today,” Servais said. “The third inning is what we were kind of used to seeing but the breaking ball has gotten better this spring. That’s a good sign.”
• Guillermo Heredia found himself on second base again Thursday, advancing on a two-run pinch hit single in the seventh inning. Heredia has gone 7 for 12 with four doubles, a triple and seven RBIs this spring.
• Cano, Cruz and Gallardo will play in their final Cactus League games with the Mariners before heading to join their WBC teams Saturday. Felix Hernandez will depart to join Team Venezuela in Surprise, Ariz. after his start Sunday.