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Taylor Widener strikes out 5 over 3.1 scoreless innings in D-backs win

PEORIA, ARIZONA - MARCH 15: Taylor Widener #57 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the second inning against the Seattle Mariners during the MLB spring training baseball game at Peoria Sports Complex on March 15, 2021 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

PEORIA, Ariz. — Taylor Widener made a statement in his first spring start.

The Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher allowed just two hits, one walk and struck out five through 3.1 scoreless innings in a 6-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Monday.

“I feel like I had pretty much everything working today,” Widener said via Zoom. “I’m starting to really feel my slider again, I’ve been working pretty hard on it.

“I’ve been utilizing my slider and my changeup a little more, trying not the be as fastball heavy, so it’s like I kind of had everything working for me today.”

Widener has spent time with the Diamondbacks’ minor league teams since 2018 after being acquired from the New York Yankees. The right-hander made 12 appearances out of the bullpen for Arizona last season and posted a 4.50 ERA, 22 strikeouts and 12 walks in 20 innings.

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said that Widener’s first start was “solid.”

“Command of his fastball on both sides and some really good quality secondary stuff,” Lovullo said via Zoom postgame. “The changeup started to stand out to me. He made pitches when he had to, was getting ahead of some hitters.”

As for where he hopes to end up on the pitching staff when spring training wraps, the 26-year-old said he could see himself in either role as a starter or reliever.

“There’s things I like about both of them,” Widener said. “I love the routine starting but I also love the adrenaline rush of hearing that phone ring and saying, ‘Widener, get going.’ I just want to pitch.”

Widener was relieved by Keury Mella, who threw one strikeout and allowed no hits in .2 innings pitched.

Christian Walker had a strong day at the plate, driving in Tim Locastro for the D-backs’ first run of the game in the fourth and adding a home run in the sixth to extend Arizona’s lead to 4-0.

The Mariners responded with two runs in the sixth, but were unable to catch up to the D-backs who later scored two more in the ninth to win the game 6-2.

EXTRAS

Ketel Marte exited the game in the fifth after getting hit in the foot off a pitch by the Mariners’ Yohan Ramirez. Lovullo said that Marte is doing fine and it was the manager’s decision to take him out of the game.

UP NEXT

The D-backs host the Oakland Athletics at 1:10 p.m. on Tuesday.

Tune to ESPN 620 AM to hear all the action.


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