SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners are calling up top pitching prospect George Kirby to take the fifth spot in the rotation and he’ll make his major league debut on Sunday against Tampa Bay.
Kirby will take the spot of Matt Brash after he was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma on Thursday. Seattle manager Scott Servais said Brash will be converted into being a reliever for the rest of the season in the hopes of bolstering the Mariners bullpen.
Kirby, a right-hander, was in competition with Brash for the final spot in the rotation throughout spring training. Kirby started the season at Double-A Arkansas and has been terrific with a 2-0 record and 1.82 ERA in five starts. He had 32 strikeouts and five walks in his 24 2/3 innings pitched.
“Obviously he’s been a first-round pick, a high-ranking prospect in the game and hopefully gets off to a decent start,” Servais said. “Again, I told him today I’m not looking for eight innings out of him tomorrow. Keep us in the ballgame, even if it goes a little bit rough early on, keep filling up the strike zone and take your chances.”
Kirby, 24, was Seattle’s first-round draft pick in 2019. Brash’s spot originally would have come up on Monday, but Seattle is swapping Kirby and right-hander Chris Flexen who will now pitch on Monday against Philadelphia.
Servais said he was impressed with how Kirby improved through his spring training outings and reports about his pitch usage in Arkansas have been positive.
Seattle will have to make a roster move ahead of Sunday’s game.
“He’s got a really good fastball,” Servais said. “But the velocity in our league it really doesn’t scare people off. You have to have the secondary weapons and he’s really focused on that.”
Seattle also placed catcher Tom Murphy on the 10-day injured list after suffering a dislocated left shoulder trying to make a sweep tag in Friday’s loss. Servais said Murphy’s had past issues with the shoulder popping out. Murphy was expected to undergo an MRI to check the extent of any damage.
Cal Raleigh was recalled from Tacoma and was in the starting lineup on Saturday.