Smyly returns to camp after brilliant Team USA start

Mariners lefty fans eight over 4 2/3 innings in win over Venezuela on Wednesday

Smyly returns to camp after brilliant Team USA start

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Drew Smyly was in camp with the Mariners on Friday, two days after his brilliant start for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic and just in time to pitch again Tuesday back in the desert.

The left-hander, who will be counted on as a vital part of the Seattle pitching rotation in 2017, was full of good memories and confidence from a tremendous performance in intense circumstances.

"It was awesome," said Smyly, who went 4 2/3 innings Wednesday night in San Diego against a Venezuela team packed with Major League All-Stars and gave up one unearned run on three hits while striking out eight, not issuing a walk and continuing his Spring Training progression with 61 pitches.

"A sweet experience. I sucked up every moment of it [and was] glad I got to be a part of it."

Smyly admitted that the adrenaline involved with slapping on a uniform with the name and colors of his native country and then striding atop the mound to face a lineup of Jose Altuve, Martin Prado, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Rougned Odor, Alcides Escobar, Carlos Gonalez, Robinson Chirinos and Ender Inciarte had his "juices flowing." His velocity was up, with his fastball hitting 94 mph at times, and his secondary stuff was on point.

"I was locked in," Smyly said. "I had good command, I was jacked up, I was probably throwing a little harder than I usually do. I knew I only had like 60 pitches so I just tried to make the most of it."

Smyly was pitching in that game on nine days' rest. Mariners manager Scott Servais said Smyly would next toe the rubber in a game Tuesday, whether it's the Mariners' home game at night against the Oakland A's or a Minor League game earlier in the day. That will be on five days' rest.

Either way, Smyly sounded encouraged by the uptick in velocity.

"Obviously, I had extra days of rest and more adrenaline than a normal start, but I don't feel like I was throwing harder than I ever have before," Smyly said. "I've definitely thrown that hard before in the past. I don't make that much out of it.

"Hopefully, I can carry that with me for the rest of the season, but it's a long season. ... It's hard to maintain that for 30 starts, but if I can, that'll be great."

Servais said he was happy to have Smyly back as the preparations for the 162-game grind of the regular season continue.

"He threw the ball great," the manager said. "And I know it's important for him to get back on a normal schedule."

The World Baseball Classic runs through Wednesday. In the U.S., games air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. The tournament is being distributed internationally across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games in San Diego's Petco Park and the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.