Diaz looked sharp in his first outing since being demoted.
Edwin Diaz’s return to the closing role for the Mariners could come on the upcoming road trip. The young flame-throwing right-hander made his first appearance since losing the job earlier in the week, tossing two scoreless innings in 2-1 loss to the White Sox on Friday night.
Beyond the scoreless results, Diaz’s outing provided some hope that the mechanical changes he’s working on with pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre will provide some consistency and the ability to make in-game adjustments.
“I felt pretty good,” Diaz said. “It was a pretty good step for us, getting back to my mechanics.”
The outing also left manager Scott Servais feeling good about Diaz returning to his expected role.
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“I feel very confident that if he keeps moving in that direction, he’ll be back doing the ninth inning solo and we can get back to him being our bullpen anchor,” Servais said. “That’s what we’re trying to get back to.”
Diaz pitched two scoreless innings, allowing two weak hits and striking out two batters and walking none. He threw 29 pitches and 20 of them were strikes. The extended outing earned him a day off on Saturday.
“We’ll let him regroup, but I was really encouraged by what we saw,” Servais said. “That was one of his better outings of the year, maybe his best outing for the year. He commanded the fastball to the glove side, he had an idea where it was going. He stepped off the mound a few times and you could see him kind of gather himself and said, ‘Ok, this is what I’ve got to do.’ He’s starting to get those checkpoints down so he can get himself back on. And I thought his slider was good, too.”
Diaz could feel himself getting quick with his delivery — the root of his mechanical issues — and he was able to recognize it and make an in-game adjustment. It was something…