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Pazos breathing easier after Mariners debut

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

HOUSTON -- Mariners manager Scott Servais has been impressed by the early showing of his bullpen, including the initial outing of rookie left-hander James Pazos after the big lefty induced four straight ground balls in his Opening Day debut.

Pazos had 8 1/3 innings of experience spread over two previous seasons in spot duty with the Yankees, but this is the first time the 25-year-old has broken spring camp on a 25-man roster. Servais recognized the look in Pazos' eyes when he called the pitcher in from the bullpen in the sixth inning of Monday's opener.

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HOUSTON -- Mariners manager Scott Servais has been impressed by the early showing of his bullpen, including the initial outing of rookie left-hander James Pazos after the big lefty induced four straight ground balls in his Opening Day debut.

Pazos had 8 1/3 innings of experience spread over two previous seasons in spot duty with the Yankees, but this is the first time the 25-year-old has broken spring camp on a 25-man roster. Servais recognized the look in Pazos' eyes when he called the pitcher in from the bullpen in the sixth inning of Monday's opener.

Full Game Coverage

"I kind of joked with him when I handed him the ball," Servais said. "I said, 'You can smile a little bit and go ahead and start breathing for me.' And he said later, 'Yeah, I kind of needed that.' But he handled that really well. He went right after them. He's got good stuff. He should carry himself like a guy. He is a dude. I think he's going to have a good year for us."

Pazos, an Arizona native who was acquired from the Yankees for prospect Zach Littell in November, said he's just soaking up his new experience with the Mariners and he appreciated Servais' relaxing welcome when he first took the mound.

"He thought I looked a little uptight or something," Pazos said with a smile. "But I felt fine. It definitely helped a little bit to have him come out there and have me laugh though. It relaxed me a little. It was exciting to get in there. It would have been nice to get the victory, but it was good to get the feet wet and get going a little bit."

Worth noting
Dillon Overton's wife had a baby boy on Tuesday and the lefty reliever will rejoin the Mariners on Thursday after opening the season on the paternity list for three days. That means right-hander Chase De Jong will be optioned to Triple-A Tacoma on Thursday, where he's expected to join the starting rotation.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Seattle Mariners, James Pazos