If the Mariners have indeed made a decision on who will start Monday’s game vs. the Phillies in place of Matt Brash, they aren’t willing to share it just yet.

Asked if they had moved any closer on a decision, manager Scott Servais offered up a mischievous smile and replied: “When we all decide what’s the best time to announce it, we will. We’re getting close. We have a pretty good idea who it’s going to be. We’ll probably have a clearer idea probably I would think maybe tomorrow. Tomorrow is Saturday, yeah, probably tomorrow I believe.”

Servais mentioning Saturday as the time frame offered a big clue since right-hander George Kirby is scheduled to start on Saturday night for Class AA Arkansas.

The Mariners’ top pitching prospect and No. 12 prospect in all of baseball per Baseball America, Kirby, 24, is the likely choice to replace Brash. The two top arms in the organization battled for the fifth spot in the rotation during spring training with Brash edging out Kirby for the spot. With Brash sent down to Tacoma and being converted to a relief role, the spot is there for Kirby to make his own.

He certainly doesn’t have much to prove in the Double-A Texas League. In five starts, he’s posted a 2-0 record with a 1.82 ERA. He’s allowed five earned runs in 24 2/3 innings, striking out 32 batters, walking five and allowing three homers.

The other two possible options for the Mariners would be right-hander Levi Stoudt, who is 3-2 with a 3.46 ERA in five starts or having a “bullpen” day. But with the Mariners in the midst of a stretch 16 games in 16 days, a bullpen start wouldn’t be ideal.


Stoudt, who is ranked as the No. 6 prospect in the organization, is a quality prospect that will likely make his MLB debut this season. But choosing him would send an awful message to Kirby, who was arguably more polished and ready with better weapons and command to adjust to MLB hitters.

Kirby was the Mariners first-round pick (20th overall) in the 2019 draft out of Elon University. In parts of three minor league seasons, he’s posted a 7-3 record with a 2.34 ERA in 28 starts and one relief appearance. In 115 1/3 innings pitched, he’s struck out 137 batters with 20 walks.

Romo ready to return?

Sergio Romo moved closer to returning from the injured list, pitching in a live batting practice session before Friday’s game.

The session was a unique in that the hitter that Romo was facing for the 25-pitch session was Ichiro.

“Looks healthy to me,” Servais said. “I guess that’s the biggest thing. Looking at his pitches, it didn’t look he was favoring anything or holding anything back. I really came out to watch Ichiro hit and it just happened to be that Romo was throwing, so he looked great. We’ll see what the next step is. Is it possible to activate him or maybe send him out for a quick rehab stint? I’m not quite sure. We’ll talk about it with the training staff and probably know by the end of the day today or sometime tomorrow.”

Lewis scratched from Rainiers lineup

Kyle Lewis was scratched from the starting lineup for Class AAA Tacoma a few hours before first pitch in Salt Lake City. Rainiers radio announcer Mike Curto tweeted that Lewis was on the field before doing exercises with the Mariners rehabilitation coordinator.


Lewis started his rehab stint Tuesday, hitting a homer in his first at-bat for Tacoma and adding two RBI singles as the designated hitter.

A night later, he got the start in left field, playing seven innings and going 0-3 with a walk and a strikeout.

Lewis had a scheduled day off Thursday, but was expected to play Friday night. The Rainiers have two more games in Salt Lake and a day off Monday before opening a homestand Tuesday afternoon at Cheney Stadium.

  • Asked about Mitch Haniger’s recovery from a high ankle sprain, Servais noted that the right fielder is still in a walking boot.

“It’s going to be a little while,” Servais said. “Those high ankle sprains, you can’t put a timetable on it. He’s still sore. He’s getting a ton of treatment to get healed up as quickly as he can.”