BRENT STECKER

Mariners notebook: New acquisition Marco Gonzales isn’t new to Servais

Jul 21, 2017, 6:12 PM
Marco Gonzales was scouted by Mariners manager Scott Servais in high school and college. (AP)...
Marco Gonzales was scouted by Mariners manager Scott Servais in high school and college. (AP)
(AP)

The newest Mariners acquisition, left-handed pitcher Marco Gonzales, won’t start right away with Seattle, but when he eventually arrives in the Mariners’ clubhouse he won’t be a stranger to his manager.

When Scott Servais was asked how much he knows about Gonzales prior to the Mariners’ game Friday against the Yankees, he answered, “Quite a bit.” It turns out Servais has had a close eye on Gonzales during his time working in player development for the Angels and Rangers.

“I actually saw him in high school, I saw him in college at Gonzaga,” Servais said. “I’ve followed him.”

Stecker: Mariners add impact arm to bullpen at crucial time

Gonzales comes to the Mariners with local ties, not only playing at Gonzaga but also spending time with the Wenatchee AppleSox of the summer collegiate West Coast League – somewhat of a west coast counterpart to the Cape Cod League – leading the team to the WCL championship and pacing the league in strikeouts as an 18 year old in 2010.

“He’s a really good athlete, he’s very competitive, he’ll do all the little things on the mound you have to do to win games,” Servais said. “(What) stuck out, for me: his pitch ability, being able to move the ball around, outstanding changeup. I think he’s gonna be OK.”

After a pause, Servais added one extra piece of information.

“As you can tell, I like him.”

The 25-year-old Gonzales didn’t come cheap, though, costing the Mariners one of their biggest prospects, power-hitting outfielder Tyler O’Neill. That, combined with the fact that Gonzales had Tommy John surgery last year, caused a bit of concern in the fan base when the trade was announced. The good news for Mariners fans is that Gonzales has strong numbers this season in Triple-A – 2.90 ERA with 57 strikeouts to 17 walks in 68 1/3 innings – an encouraging sign following such a major operation. He’s also coming from an organization known for producing quality pitchers and shouldn’t be too far from a return to the MLB.

Notes

New reliever David Phelps said was initially alerted to his trade Thursday to Seattle from Miami by waking up to a text message from Steve Cishek, who was a Marlins teammate of his in 2015. When they first played together, Phelps was still primarily a starter, but he’ll now be hanging out with Cishek in the bullpen. Phelps said he’s “come to love” pitching in relief since making the switch full-time last year. “My stuff plays up a little bit. Last couple years my fastball velocity’s been up. … Take my strengths I was using in the rotation, just use them for three to five hitters in an inning – hopefully three – just go out, just kinda be more on the attack than try to manage the game.”

• Servais said Hisashi Iwakuma is playing catch consistently and his shoulder was pain-free after throwing on flat ground Thursday. Iwakuma has been out since early May with shoulder bursitis.

• The Mariners have reportedly sent Triple-A relievers Mark Lowe and Jean Machi to the White Sox for cash. More on that in this post.

• You can find the full lineups for Friday’s Game 2 vs. the Yankees here.

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