Scribner healthy, ready to be key piece of bullpen

Scribner healthy, ready to be key piece of bullpen

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Missing Spring Training and the first five months of the 2016 season wasn't exactly the plan for Evan Scribner, but things eventually worked out for the Mariners' right-handed reliever.

This year, Scribner is healthy, he's been around for every minute of big league camp in the desert, and he's planning on being with the team when the season opens on April 3. That would work out even better.

"It's awesome to be healthy," Scribner said. "I definitely don't take it for granted like I did before."

Scribner, 31, came to the Mariners from the A's in a trade following the 2015 season. Scribner pitched for Oakland the previous four seasons after breaking into the Majors with the Padres in 2011, and he had ensconced himself as a reliable bullpen arm, if not necessarily a late-inning guy.

That changed in Seattle when Scribner finally came back from a lat strain that cost him all of Spring Training and the first five months of the 2016 regular season. Scribner pitched in 12 games, throwing 14 scoreless innings and giving up five hits, while striking out 15 and only walking two. He became a weapon as the Mariners competed in the American League Wild Card race.

Scribner was good in 2015, establishing career-highs in games (54), innings (60) and strikeouts (64) while with the A's, but in his small sample size in Seattle, he was great.

Scribner escapes a jam

"The only thing I can think of that was different is that on the mental side, I was just so happy to be back to pitching, I didn't really care what the results were," Scribner said. "If I got crushed, whatever. I was still having a great time being with the team and pitching.

"But I got a good perspective on things almost missing a whole year. Who knows? It could just be that it was a new team, change of scenery, and the way we do things around here fits more the way I pitch."

The Mariners are not expecting Scribner to be Mariano Rivera this year, but they do consider him a valuable piece of a bullpen they will need to be strong to play deep into October.

"He's a stable guy," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "He really throws strikes, [plus] the back-and-forth with the curveball and what he brings. He's a [trustworthy] guy. You put him in the game, and you have a pretty good idea of what you're going to get.

"He'll get hit once in a while. He'll give up a home run here or there. It happens. But he will go after guys, and he has really good command of the fastball."

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.