PEORIA, Ariz. — This time, Logan Gilbert walked off the mound at the end of an inning, not in the middle of it.
The Mariners’ top pitching prospect made his first outing of the spring on Thursday and looked impressive in Seattle’s 5-4 loss vs. the Giants at Peoria Stadium. The lanky right-hander tossed two shutout innings, allowing one hit that probably should’ve been an out while striking out one batter.
Gilbert displayed a riding fastball that sat around 94-95 mph, a biting slider that he buried in the dirt for a swinging strike three in his only strikeout and a big-breaking, 12-to-6 slow curveball that was reminiscent of Zack Greinke.
“I thought Logan Gilbert was really good, much better than last time,” manager Scott Servais said.
Gilbert thought the same thing.
“I felt good out there, and it was way better results than last time,” he said.
That last time they spoke of was a disastrous performance in Peoria Stadium on March 10, 2019, against Cleveland. Because of a heavy college workload in his junior season at Stetson and then contracting mononucleosis, he didn’t pitch in the 2018 minor league season after being selected with the 14th overall pick of the draft.
So that game was his first professional outing of any sort, and it went poorly. Clearly nervous, he allowed five runs on four hits and a walk in 2/3 of an inning.
There were none of those nerves this time.
“I was ready to get back out there after a year of waiting my turn,” Gilbert said. “I think it was big having last season to get a full pro season under my belt. I played in bigger stadiums and in front of crowds and all that stuff. So I was really comfortable when I got out there.”
Gilbert was originally going to pitch on Monday after Marco Gonzales’ two innings of work. But when the Cactus League opener was rained out and the decision was made to delay Taijuan Walker’s first outing of the spring, Gilbert was slotted in to start one of the split squad games.
“The rain out kind of messed with it, but I knew in good time it would happen,” he said.
Starting the game instead of entering as a reliever made the preparation easier.
“I was on my schedule, my routine, took my time out there and really felt comfortable because of it,” he said. “It’s so huge when I can go through my routine.”
While Cactus League results don’t matter, the experience of pitching in the games is important for Gilbert. He will likely the start the season at Double-A Arkansas. But he’s expected be in the big leagues sometime after the All-Star break. Facing big league hitters now can only help him in the future.
“Confidence,” he said. “There are some good hitters over there like any team we are going to face. But I feel like I have the stuff to compete with them. I’m really confident in my stuff and feel like I can go toe-to-toe with anybody.”
So bro …
The brothers Bishop were on the field in the late innings of Thursday’s game. Braden Bishop got the start in center field for Seattle, playing eight innings and going 0 for 2 with a walk, a stolen base and a run scored. His younger brother, Hunter, was called up from Giants minor league camp for the travel roster. Hunter Bishop entered the game in the fifth inning, replacing Michael Yastrzemski in center. He went 1 for 2 with a stolen base and a run scored. He was a first-round pick of the Giants (10th overall) last year out of Arizona State. The Bishops met on the field pregame and talked extensively and then took several pictures together postgame.
“Honestly, it’s special at this point, just with our mom passing away and us getting to be on a major league spring training field together,” Braden Bishop said. “He’s got a super bright future — probably brighter than mine was coming up — just the situation he’s in and the kind of player he is. I think he’s going to be really special.”
Dylan Moore will be held out of action for the next few days as he goes through MLB’s concussion protocol. Moore was removed from Wednesday’s game vs. the Reds after ramming his head into the knee of an infielder while attempting to steal second base.
“It was right on the top of the head and just crunched me,” Moore said. “I could feel it in the top and back of my head. They’ve been telling me to go feet first. If it’s not slower, I will do that.”
Moore is currently locked in a battle with Tim Lopes, Sam Haggerty and Patrick Wisdom for a bench spot on the opening day roster. Moore handled the duties last season, posting a .206/.306/.389 slash line with a 14 doubles, two triples, nine homers and 28 RBI in 113 games. He appeared at every position on the field other than catcher.