Rollins was selected by the Mariners with their pick in the Rule 5 draft at the winter meetings out of the Astros organization.

Share story

PEORIA, Ariz. — When David Rollins talks, he speaks in a quiet voice with a drawl as thick as the summer humidity in his hometown of DeBerry, Texas, which sits near the Texas-Louisiana state line. There’s a rhythmic cadence in his diction, like Matthew McConaughey in those semi-annoying car commercials.

But unlike McConaughey, Rollins isn’t the type to rattle on with nonsense just to hear his voice.

Quiet and unassuming, Rollins has been relatively anonymous in the back of the Mariners’ clubhouse, where most of the young relievers have their lockers. He isn’t bombastic or loud like some of his teammates. He often sits quietly at his locker listening to music in his down time.

Mariners 5, White Sox 5

Notable: At Camelback Ranch, Logan Morrison had a big day, belting a solo homer off White Sox starter Jeff Samardzija in his second at-bat and tripling in his third at-bat off lefty Eric Surkamp. The Mariners also got a run-scoring triple from Dustin Ackley, run-scoring doubles from James Jones and Ketel Marte and a run-scoring single from Robinson Cano. ... Kevin Correia made his Mariners debut, pitching one inning and allowing an infield hit. He struck out one. ... Lefty Rafael Perez failed to finish his scheduled inning, getting just two outs and giving up three runs and four hits.

Player of the game: Hisashi Iwakuma had another solid outing for the Mariners. Iwakuma worked four scoreless innings, giving up five hits with two strikeouts and no walks. Iwakuma also worked out of high-leverage situations, getting Jose Abreu to ground into an inning-ending double play in the first inning and then getting Abreu to foul out with runners on second and third to end the third inning.

Quotable: “He’d been doing OK for the most part and struggled the last two or three games. So any time you get positive results it’s a good thing. I’m sure he feels good about it today.” — manager Lloyd McClendon, on Logan Morrison’s game.

On tap: The Mariners meet American League West rival Oakland on Wednesday at Peoria Stadium. Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez is scheduled to start for Seattle, and lefty Drew Pomeranz will start for the A’s. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. The game will be televised on ROOT Sports and MLB.TV and broadcast live on

Ryan Divish

But his pitching has done plenty of talking this spring. And people are beginning to notice.

So when asked if he’s starting to believe he has a shot to make the Mariners’ opening-day roster, he gave an answer befitting of a big-league player.

“It’s just all about the competition, you know?” he said. “There’s a lot of guys I’m out here competing against. I’m just trying to do the best I can each day and show them what I can do.”

It was mentioned in fun that his first comment was straight out of the scene in the movie “Bull Durham” where veteran catcher Crash Davis teaches young phenom Nuke Laloosh to learn and study his clichés, calling them his friends.

Rollins laughed and replied: “I just watched that movie yesterday on the off day.”

With or without the clichés, the 25-year-old has made himself a viable candidate to make the Mariners out of spring training as the second left-hander in the bullpen. He’s made five appearances, pitched 51/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out six.

“It feels like my fastball command has been pretty good right now,” he said. “I’ve been working on my offspeed a lot, and it’s still a work in progress on the breaking ball.”

Rollins was selected by the Mariners in the Rule 5 draft at the winter meetings out of the Astros organization.

In most circumstances, a Rule 5 choice doesn’t make a team with as many returnees as the Mariners. But the absence of Joe Beimel has left a spot open. Rollins is competing with Lucas Luetge, Tyler Olson, Rafael Perez and Joe Saunders for the spot.

Rollins’ status as a Rule 5 selection might help him make the roster. By rule, if Rollins does not stay on the roster for the entire season, he then must be offered back to the Astros or clear waivers. He’s pitched well enough that Seattle could be convinced to keep him.

Rollins was stunned to find out he’d been taken in the Rule 5 draft.

“I was in Puerto Rico and had no idea what was going on,” he said. “My phone was just blowing up, and people tweeting at me. And then my roommate came running over at the time and told me I’d been picked up by the Mariners. I was pretty excited about it.”

The Astros had wanted him to throw in the offseason to continue his transition to a reliever, so he went to pitch in Puerto Rico, where he allowed five runs in 13 innings with 20 strikeouts.

“It’s way different,” he said. “I like it way better than starting. If you have a bad outing, you have a chance to come back and pitch a lot sooner. My (velocity) has picked up a lot since I’ve been a reliever.”

Paxton pitches

James Paxton made his first start of the spring in an intrasquad game Tuesday at the Peoria Sports Complex.

Paxton got the start for one team, and Danny Hultzen started for the other team.

Paxton pitched three scoreless innings, giving up four hits, striking out one and throwing 31 pitches. Hultzen, who was optioned to Class AAA Tacoma last week, pitched two shutout innings, giving up one hit with two walks and three strikeouts. He threw 34 pitches.

The outing was a big step for Paxton after having his spring routine interrupted because of a bruised forearm.

“I was throwing some curveballs and cutters for strikes there and moving the fastball around a little bit, but left a couple in the middle,” Paxton said. “I threw some OK changeups and left one up there, and I threw another one for a strike when I was trying to get it in the dirt. But I have some time to get things tightened up and ready to go.”

The plan is for Paxton to make three more starts, possibly including a Cactus League game Sunday against the Rangers. Will that be enough time to be ready for the start of the season?

“I’ll be ready, absolutely,” Paxton said.

Fernando Rodney and Tom Wilhelmsen also got in their work in that intrasquad game. Rodney threw two innings, giving up one run and three hits. He struck out one. The run came on a solo homer from Dan Paolini. Wilhelmsen threw a 1-2-3 inning and struck out two.


• The Mariners will play the Dodgers in the 2015 Civil Rights Game on Jackie Robinson Day on April 15 at Dodger Stadium. This is the first time that MLB will hold its tribute to civil rights in conjunction with its annual commemoration of Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier on April 15, 1947. The game will air on ESPN2, with coverage scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Rickie Weeks will start getting reps at first base in the next few days before games. The Mariners have been very focused on his transition to the outfield, but they want Weeks to be able to play first base if needed.

• Lefty reliever Edgar Olmos, who has been sidelined because of a shoulder impingement, will start playing catch Monday.

• The Mariners made a minor roster move, optioning reliever Mayckol Guaipe to Class AAA Tacoma. The Mariners have 50 players in big-league camp.