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Mariners will give left-hander Marco Gonzales a few extra days rest before making another start

Seattle Mariners pitcher Marco Gonzales works against the Oakland Athletics in the first inning of a baseball game Monday, Aug. 13, 2018, in Oakland, Calif. (Ben Margot / AP)
Seattle Mariners pitcher Marco Gonzales works against the Oakland Athletics in the first inning of a baseball game Monday, Aug. 13, 2018, in Oakland, Calif. (Ben Margot / AP)
By Ryan Divish Seattle Times

SEATTLE – With his overall innings total building and the Mariners concerned that the increased workload has led to some late season fatigue, Marco Gonzales had his scheduled start on Sunday vs. the Dodgers postponed. The young lefty will get a few extra days rest and start the homestand finale vs. the Astros on Wednesday.

“We are going to give Marco a couple of extra days,” manager Scott Servais. “He’s certainly had fantastic year so far, but we’ll give him a couple of extra days so we’ll be TBD (to be determined) on Sunday and Marco will come back and pitch in the final game against Houston.”

Gonzales has made 24 starts this season, posting a 12-8 record with a 3.91 ERA. He’s thrown a total of 142 2/3 innings, which is a career high. In 2014, he threw 122 innings in the minor leagues. He dealt with the injuries during 2015 and missed all of 2016 with elbow surgery. Last year, in his first season following Tommy John surgery, he threw 126 1/3 innings.

The Mariners are cognizant of the total innings being accrued and Gonzales recent outings where his command has wavered. He’s made it just five innings in each of his last two starts, giving up a total of 11 earned runs on 20 hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.

“This is our call as a coaching staff and looking at where he’s at,” Servais said. “It’s something we’ve talked about for a while that there was going to have to be these times. We gave him a pretty good break there at the end of the All-Star break. He had a lot of down time there. And we think with a couple of days here and we have some offdays coming up so he can get a couple of extra days before his next start. We have a span of 20 days and he’ll make three starts instead of making four.”

Gonzales was diplomatic about the decision.

“This gives me a chance to get a couple of extra days off my legs and be stronger when I start on Wednesday,” he said. “I think it’s in all of our best interests. So I’m not upset. I’m not mad about it. It gives me a chance to put in more work this week and come out for a better start. If it gives me a chance to have fresh legs and a fresher arm, then I’m all for it.”

But does he think he needs the break?

“No,” he said quickly. “No. I feel like I’ve been pretty consistent with my workload and, as you guys know, I try to stay very diligent. I think I feel better than even I anticipated at this point in the year. I’ve surprised myself.”

Gonzales has become obsessive about his preparation and conditioning. Always dedicated to his craft since his amateur days, he’s taken it to another level.

“I have to after the journey I’ve been through,” he said. “With the arm troubles that I’ve had, I try to never take a day off from doing something productive and trying to get better in that area. I take a lot of pride in that.”

Gonzales doesn’t believe his struggles in the last two outings are from fatigue.

“The lack of fastball command has been my downfall,” he said. “Those are things we’ve worked on every single day. Like I told Mel (Stottlemyre) and like I told (Servais), a couple of those starts they were just a couple of at-bats away from being a pretty decent start. I’m a guy that pitches on the edges, and having to be a crafty left-hander, I’m think I’m always a couple of pitches away from having a good or bad outing. I don’t think it’s the time of the year where I have to go find myself and fix things. It’s just a matter of staying on what I do.”

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