March 6, 2023
Kirby, who allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits and a walk over 1.1 innings in his Cactus League debut against the Rockies on Saturday, impressed manager Scott Servais with his arm care and pitch adjustments as a rookie in 2022, Daniel Kramer of MLB.com
reports. "For a young player to be able to make those kinds of adjustments and then to incorporate into his arsenal as quickly as he was against the best players in the world, like, that's special," Servais said.
Kirby's rocky first spring outing notwithstanding, Servais has nothing but praise and elevated expectations for his precocious right-hander. The 25-year-old took full advantage of the knowledge base of the older arms on the Mariners' staff once he arrived at the big-league level in May, learning an arm-care routine and also working up to throwing six different pitches. Kirby is now experimenting with a splitter this spring in order to expand his arsenal even further as he looks to build on the 8-5 record, 3.39 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 24.5 percent strikeout rate he generated across 25 starts in 2022.