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Marco Gonzales: Mariners ‘going to surprise people with how we play’

Feb 16, 2019, 12:20 AM | Updated: 12:20 am
Marco Gonzales, Mariners, Seattle Mariners...
Mariners LHP Marco Gonzales is 4-0 so far this season. (AP)
(AP)

The Mariners face a unique challenge. The team is preparing to enter what general manager Jerry Dipoto has publicly referred to as a “step back” – his choice phrasing for a rebuilding period – but for players on a Major League roster, there is no such thing as taking a step back.

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So when Mariners left-handed pitcher Marco Gonzales was asked how he’s meeting that challenge, he didn’t hesitate to say he’ll be as competitive as ever.

“I think that there’s some things that we’re doing publicly, I think that there’s some moves we’re making,” Gonzales said during an interview with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Groz and Tom Friday. “We’re making it obvious that we want to change this culture, change the vibe around here of what defines the Seattle Mariners and who we are and what we’re about. So, I think publicly we have that presence.

“But I think privately in this clubhouse, I think I speak for a lot of guys in saying that there will be no steps back. I don’t think we’re out there to lose games. I think baseball is one of those sports where you can go and give everything for 162 (games), go out there and compete. And especially with the young guys we’ve got in this clubhouse right now, that is far from the truth, saying that we’re going to take a step back this year. I think we’re going to surprise some people with how we play.”

Gonzales, 26, is coming off his best year in the MLB (13-9, 4.00 ERA) and arrived at spring training as the Mariners’ top returning starting pitcher.

“(The pressure and expectations) is something I’m aware of and there’s definitely a different vibe, a different setting this year in camp for me,” Gonzales said. “But I have to say, regardless of expectations that anyone else has for me, I don’t think they come anywhere close to the expectations I’ve had for myself throughout my entire career.”

While 2018 was a breakout season for Gonzales, he struggled in August – something he attributed in part to neck stiffness – and knows there are areas in which he can continue to improve.

“I don’t know if I’m content with the results,” Gonzales said of his 2018 season. “I would say that I’m happy; I’m pleased with my process and my routine that I developed last year that helped me with some of that success. But I think I have a lot more to offer as well. So I’m hoping I can get the full potential out of myself this year.”

Eyes on the Zags

A former star on the Gonzaga baseball team, Gonzales said that training doesn’t get in the way of his affinity for the third-ranked Zags basketball team.

“Nothing stops me from watching some Zags basketball,” he said. “I’m super hyped on this year, they’ve got a great team. So they’ll be fun to watch.”

Listen to Gonzales’ full interview in the audio clip embedded above.

You can listen to Bob, Groz and Tom every weekday from noon-3 p.m. on 710 ESPN Seattle.

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