It seems everything went right Saturday for Mariners reliever Wyatt Mills — except for the fine.
First, the former Gonzaga Prep and Gonzaga University star from Spokane was told at 2:30 p.m. that he was joining the big-league team for the first time.
Somehow, his parents made it to Seattle from Spokane in about three hours to come to that night’s game.
Then, in the eighth inning, he made his major-league debut, pitching a perfect inning against the hot-hitting Angels.
Perhaps the only thing he did wrong was take time before the game to answer those who had been sending him messages of congratulation.
“I was able to respond to a lot of them, but I ended up coming to my locker and seeing a fine (from his bullpen teammates) for missing batting practice from the bullpen,” Mills told reporters after Saturday night’s game. “So that’s how my first day started.”
The day certainly ended well.
Mills said his parents “got (on) a plane, and somehow were here.”
They watched Mills’ first competitive game since pitching in Class AA in 2019 for the Arkansas Travelers. The third-round draft pick from 2017 was not invited to the alternate training site last year, and the snub motivated him.
“It really lit a fire under me,” he said. “I truly believe it was the best thing for me. It really pushed me to find different avenues in my game that I needed to improve, whether that was the weight room, arm care in the training room and then the mental game. I’m an incredibly different pitcher now than I was then.”
Mills said his plan when he got into Saturday’s game was “just doing what I was doing at the old site, filling up the zone — just go do my thing.”
“That’s all I really was thinking,” said Mills, who throws sidearm. “I didn’t want to make it any more difficult than that.”
Mariners manager Scott Servais liked what he saw.
“You should never forget what that is like, and what a thrill it is to be out there in a big-league game for the first time,” Servais said. “The adrenaline and everything that is flowing through your body … it’s nice to get that first one out of the way, to put up a zero up there even better for him.”
Brewers reacquire Nottingham
The Mariners claimed catcher Jacob Nottingham off waivers from the Brewers last week and he was activated Friday afternoon.
On Saturday afternoon, he was designated for assignment with Mills taking his spot on the active roster.
On Sunday, the Mariners traded Nottingham back to the Brewers for cash considerations. Milwaukee has injury troubles at the position and Nottingham was in the team’s starting lineup Sunday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He homered twice and drove in three runs as the Brewers lost to the Dodgers 16-4.
“There was a request if we could somehow work him back towards Milwaukee, and we thought that was the best thing for the player at this point,” Servais said. “You want to do what’s best for the organization, no doubt, but you also want to do what’s best for the player.”
The Mariners might have gotten a side bonus from having Nottingham on the team for a day. He left one of his bats, and shortstop J.P. Crawford used it Saturday night, getting two hits in three at-bats, including a double. He also walked.
“I thought his swing looked as good last night as we’ve seen it at any point this season,” Servais said, noting that Crawford and Nottingham played summer league ball together while growing up. “I joked with him today to see if he had ordered any new bats and he had already put in a new order.
“There is something about having a different feel in your hand. … I hope he doesn’t break that bat before he gets a new one.”
Sadler placed on injured list
Reliever Casey Sadler was placed on the 10-day injured list Sunday with right shoulder inflammation and reliever Erik Swanson was called up from the alternate site.
Sadler, who pitched a scoreless inning in the Mariners’ 7-4 win over the Angels on Friday night, has an ERA of 1.64 over 11 innings this season.
Servais said Sunday he had not decided who will start Monday against Baltimore in place of Marco Gonzales, who is on the injured list. Servais said it’ll definitely be a reliever, and it might be Swanson.
“We will have to wait and see how today’s game goes,” Servais said. “Call it a bullpen game.”
Gonzales played catch Sunday morning and Servais said he was very hopeful the left-hander “would not be out that long, maybe just a couple of starts.”