BRENT STECKER

Mariners notebook: Edwin Diaz not the closer after bad outing Monday

May 16, 2017, 5:37 PM | Updated: 5:43 pm
Edwin Diaz will not be pitching in the ninth inning for the time being for the Mariners. (AP)...
Edwin Diaz will not be pitching in the ninth inning for the time being for the Mariners. (AP)
(AP)

The Seattle Mariners won’t be relying on Edwin Diaz to close out their games for the time being. Instead, their focus will be on getting their 23-year-old reliever back to a condition in which they’ll be comfortable firing him out in ninth innings.

The young right-hander will be used in less pressure-filled situations while the team works to fix some issues with his mechanics, Mariners manager Scott Servais said Tuesday, a day after Diaz walked four batters and allowed two runs while registering just one out in a save situation. For the season, Diaz has seven saves, two blown saves and a 5.28 ERA.

Mariners place Robinson Cano on DL with quad strain

“Where we’re at, the major league level and the pressures and everything else that goes along with the ninth inning, (this is) probably a situation where we do get him some work earlier in the game. Some nights it might be the sixth inning, might be a seventh inning, might be more than one inning to try and get him going back,” Servais said. “What we saw last night, certainly it’s a 23 year old who didn’t have a good feel for what was going on out there and more importantly didn’t know how to fix it. … I know (pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. has) some things he wants to address with him mechanically just to give him those cues when things start going bad.

“We saw it last night, he doesn’t know where to go. And that’s up to us as coaches to make sure he’s got a place to go.”

Diaz told reporters Tuesday that he’s understanding of Servais’ decision to take him out of the closer role.

“I know I’m not pitching good right now, and I just want the team to win,” Diaz said. “I agree with him. I need to fix my things and then I will be back as the closer.”

Servais said the Mariners will rely on matching up their relievers to get through ninth innings for the time being, with lefty specialist Marc Rzepczynski and righties Tony Zych and Nick Vincent all possibilities to get the final outs of games. Steve Cishek, who was Seattle’s closer for the majority of last season, is another option, though Servais is hoping to avoid putting him in save situations so close to his return from the disabled list from offseason hip labrum surgery. Cishek was both activated and made his season debut Monday, throwing four pitches to get a groundball out against one batter faced.

Judging by Servais’ comments, the Mariners definitely want to get Diaz back to closing as soon as possible, but they’re not about to rush things.

“We gotta get Edwin right. He’s got a great arm. We know what he can do when he is right. We’re gonna need him, but right now it’s probably not gonna be the ninth inning,” Servais said, adding that Diaz does have a track record of rebounding. “The one thing that Edi Diaz has shown us throughout his time here is if he has a rough stretch, he is able to bounce back from it. He had the rough game in Anaheim early in the year on the first road trip; he bounced back after that and was perfectly fine for the next few outings.”

Notes

• James Paxton, who is working his way back from a forearm strain, will require a rehab start in the minors before returning to the M’s, Servais said. The skipper added that the Mariners are shooting for him to return either late in their next road trip, which will wrap up May 30 in Colorado, or early in the following homestand, which begins May 31.

• Mitch Haniger, who is on the disabled list with an oblique strain, ran the bases and took some shadow swings on the field before Tuesday’s game.

• Servais announced that rookie Sam Gaviglio will make his first Mariners start on Thursday. The 26-year-old right-hander threw two innings of relief on May 11 in Toronto in his MLB debut, allowing a run on two hits while striking out four.

• You can find the lineups for Tuesday’s Mariners game in this post. The lineup does not include Robinson Cano, who is out for the sixth straight day and was placed on the disabled list in the afternoon with a right quad strain.

Date Starting Pitcher
Wednesday, September 28 @ 6:40 pm

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
Light Rain Likely
High 68° | Low 55°
Roof is open
Rangers at Mariners today at 6:40pm

Brent Stecker

Mariners Mitch Haniger...
Brent Stecker

Where Mariners’ quest for playoff spot stands after collapse in KC

How fans should be feeling about the Mariners' chances of ending their postseason drought in less than two weeks and how they are actually feeling right now are probably two different things.
3 days ago
Mariners Harry Ford...
Brent Stecker

Top Mariners prospect Harry Ford lights up WBC qualifiers

The season for the Modesto Nuts, the Mariners' Single-A affiliate, may have ended over a week ago, but one of the Nuts' best players is continuing to rake.
8 days ago
Mariners Luis Castillo...
Brent Stecker

Mariners Takeaways: 4 things to know as playoff push hits final turn

The Mariners have 20 games left, and they sit comfortably in a playoff position. A look at the rotation, standouts and the wild card picture.
14 days ago
Mariners Ty France...
Brent Stecker

5 things that stand out after Mariners’ huge series win over Guardians

The Mariners picked up a huge series win over the Guardians this weekend. SeattleSports.com's Brent Stecker breaks down five things to know.
1 month ago
Mariners Mitch Haniger...
Brent Stecker

Mariners stumble to start ‘easy’ part of schedule, need to flip switch

The Mariners hit the supposedly easy part of the schedule with a healthy roster, only to be handed a disappointing series loss by Texas.
2 months ago
Mariners Yankees...
Brent Stecker

The Mariners’ biggest win of the season just came out of nowhere

If the Mariners end their 21-year playoff drought, their series win over the Yankees keyed by an unexpected Tuesday victory will be a big reason.
2 months ago
Mariners notebook: Edwin Diaz not the closer after bad outing Monday