Cabrera replaces Mike Hampton, who resigned just before the All-Star break.
CHICAGO — The Mariners didn’t have to go far to find their new bullpen coach. On Friday, the club announced that Nasusel Cabrera, who has been with the Mariners coaching staff as a batting-practice pitcher since 2015, will serve as interim bullpen coach for the remainder of the season.
Cabrera replaces Mike Hampton, who resigned before the All-Star break to spend more time with his family.
“This is a good opportunity for me,” Cabrera said. “I was waiting for this for 25 years.”
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Besides serving as BP pitcher, he has also assisted the big league staff in other aspects. He served as the Mariners’ pitching coordinator in Latin America for six seasons (2010-2015). In 2014, he handled the pitching-coach duties for Short-A Everett and at rookie league Pulaski from 2009-2013. The 2013 Pulaski Mariners featured Edwin Diaz and Emilio Pagan.
“I’m excited for him,” manager Scott Servais said. “He’s obviously been a pitching coach for a long time. He’s helped out in a number of different areas. He’s excited about it. We’ll give him a shot and we’ll see how it goes.”
It was an easy fit given the timing of the decision.
“He knows the personnel, and he knows the personalties on our team, our pitchers, our coaching staff,” Servais said. “I think it’s an easy transition. You look at different people around the organization and it’s an important role, but you don’t want to disturb six different affiliates by moving people around. Nasu is very capable and we are looking forward to having him.”
The responsibilities of the bullpen coach are a little different than his previous role.
“He’s going to spend a lot more time with Mel (Stottlemyre) getting to know the pitchers and their check points in getting loose in the bullpen and understanding how the rhythm of the bullpen works and when to get guys up,” Servais said. “He’s actually filled in before down there. He has a long history of being a pitcher and a pitching coach; he knows how it works.”
Cabrera also knows the importance of being a person that the relievers can turn to.
“In the bullpen there’s a lot of frustration when they do bad,” he said. “I can connect with the pitchers because I know them very, very well.”
Cabrera hasn’t given up his batting practice responsibilities. He’ll throw to one group of hitters before games.
“I like throwing BP,” he said.
Before joining the Mariners organization, Cabrera spent 18 years as pitching coach in the Dominican Republic.
As a player, he spent three season in the Oakland A’s minor league system.
Right-hander Sam Carlson, the Mariners ballyhooed second-round pick in the 2017 draft, made his professional debut on Thursday night for the Arizona League Mariners. Carlson pitched one scoreless inning, allowing one hit and striking out a batter.