HOUSTON — In the aftermath of Friday’s 11-1 pasting by the Astros, the Mariners found some solace in the news that they were getting a new teammate.

The news that the Mariners had finalized a trade to acquire Reds ace Luis Castillo in exchange for infield prospects Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo and right-handed pitching prospects Levi Stoudt and Andrew Moore made its way into the dugout late in the loss.

“We were losing 10 to 1 and then I heard it, and you get pumped up,” Jesse Winker said after Friday’s game. “You have to take everything for what it’s worth, but on a day like (Friday) when you lose and you come back and get great news like that, it allows you to just move on from this even quicker than we were going to anyway. It’s an exciting time, for sure.”

The excitement in the clubhouse wasn’t quite at the level of the fan base. It will likely change when Castillo joins the team on the road trip.

But the angst and energy that surrounds the MLB trade deadline could still be felt.

More

Advertising

“I’ve heard about it, but I’ve never really experienced the MLB trade deadline,” Winker said. “This is really cool. It’s really good for everybody. It’s good for us. It’s good for the city of Seattle. Fans should be excited.”

Manager Scott Servais was so excited that he went back to the hotel after Friday’s loss and decided to watch Castillo’s last outing with the Reds. Pitching on Wednesday at Great American Ballpark, Castillo went seven innings, allowing three runs on six hits with a walk and eight strikeouts in the Reds’ 5-3 win over the Marlins. Castillo threw 92 pitches with 62 strikes, including 15 swings and misses.

“He was pretty awesome,” Servais said.

Over his past five starts (all Reds wins), Castillo is 2-0 with a 1.59 earned-run average, allowing six earned runs in 34 innings pitched with 10 walks and 41 strikeouts. Opposing hitters were batting .187 against him in those games.

Castillo was expected to meet the Mariners in New York on Monday while trying to get his family ready to move to Seattle.  

So when will his first start be with the Mariners? His normal turn with the Reds would’ve been Tuesday.

“I’m not exactly sure yet,” Servais said. “(Saturday) was his normal day to throw his bullpen. I’m leaning more toward Wednesday. He will pitch in New York.”

Advertising

If that holds, Marco Gonzales is scheduled to start Monday at Yankee Stadium with Logan Gilbert going on Tuesday.

The Mariners have six starters in the rotation. How they will make it work moving forward isn’t certain, or at least ready to share.

“We have a doubleheader coming up here on Saturday when we get back home,” Servais said. “The doubleheader is a big deal. We’ll have starters to cover both of those games. I don’t think we’ll have to make a clear-cut decision on where we go. Of course, we’ve got the George Kirby issue with his innings and we’ve got to continue to manage that. But we haven’t made a decision on how it’s all going to play out yet.”

Kirby is scheduled to start Sunday in Houston and will be limited to around 80 pitches after working a shorter pitch count in the 50s in his previous outing.

“You won’t see him go to 100 tomorrow,” Servais said. “We’ll continue to build there after that. If it goes well tomorrow and you could start stretching him out a little bit again, but there probably will be a time where we pull him back. He may skip a start or maybe a shorter start and maybe piggyback with somebody else. I’m not quite sure yet.”

Kirby has thrown 69 1/3 innings at the MLB level this season and 26 2/3 innings in the minor leagues. The only time he’s approached that sort of usage came in his sophomore (90 1/3) and junior (88 1/3) seasons at Elon University where he worked on six days’ rest.   

Advertising

A year ago, Kirby threw a combined 67 2/3 innings between High-A and Double-A while missing a month with shoulder fatigue. The Mariners want to make sure he stays healthy and don’t want to push his total innings over 130 if not fewer. They optioned him to Tacoma before the All-Star break to get him extended rest. They will be vigilant in keeping him healthy and not overworking him, which could lead to future injuries.  

“We can’t just throw him out there and say, ‘OK, it’ll be fine,’” Servais said. “We’re going to keep a very close watch on him as we go along.”  

Milone goes on IL

The Mariners placed left-handed reliever Tommy Milone on the 15-day injured list with a cervical muscle strain. Milone felt some discomfort in his neck while pitching in Friday night’s loss.

The Mariners filled his spot in the bullpen by selecting the minor-league contract of left-hander Brennan Bernadino and adding him to the active roster.

Bernadino, 30, has never appeared in an MLB game. He was pitching in the Mexican League this season when the Mariners signed him to a contract June 27. In seven games with the Rainiers, he posted a 2-0 record with a 0.79 ERA with 17 strikeouts and three walks in 11 1/3 innings pitched.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Bernadino, outfielder Marcus Wilson was designated for assignment.