CHICAGO -- Nasusel Cabrera has spent most of his time lately around the batting cages, and he thinks it could have a positive effect on his new job as the Mariners' new interim bullpen coach."I used to be -- every day, all day long -- in the cage with hitters,"
CHICAGO -- Nasusel Cabrera has spent most of his time lately around the batting cages, and he thinks it could have a positive effect on his new job as the Mariners' new interim bullpen coach.
"I used to be -- every day, all day long -- in the cage with hitters," Cabrera said inside the visitors' dugout at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday. "Now I know the way the hitter thinks, so I can help the pitchers even better."
Cabrera, who has been a part of the Mariners' Major League staff since July 2015, will try to use that experience in his new role, following the departure of Mike Hampton.
Hampton resigned on Sunday, wishing to spend more time with his family, according to general manager Jerry Dipoto. Cabrera now assumes that role for the remainder of the season, starting with Friday night's series opener against the White Sox.
"He knows the personnel, he knows the personalities of our team, our pitchers, coaching staff. I think it's an easy transition," said Mariners manager Scott Servais. "He's got a long history of being a pitcher, being a pitching coach. He knows how it works."
That "long history" was a topic of conversation Friday.
Cabrera, 49, has worked as a batting-practice pitcher and assistant coach since joining Seattle's staff. He previously was the Mariners' Latin America pitching coordinator from 2010-15 and was pitching coach at Class A Everett in '14 and at Rookie League Pulaski from 2009-13.
Prior to joining the Mariners, Cabrera spent 18 seasons as a pitching coach in the Dominican Republic. He also pitched in the A's Minor League system from 1986-88 before becoming a coach.
"This means a lot to me. ... I [have been] waiting for 25 years," Cabrera said. "I am very happy to be here."
One thing Cabrera highlighted as a reason for getting the position was his ability to connect with the pitching staff. Cabrera has previously worked with Edwin Diaz and Emilio Pagan in the Minors and added that he thinks a big part of his job could simply be managing the frustrations of the bullpen when things aren't going the Mariners' way.
As for some of the additional responsibilities, Servais said the biggest things will be learning the various "checkpoints" of each pitcher and understanding "how the rhythm of the bullpen works." Cabrera seemed enthusiastic about taking on all of those new tasks, although he wasn't quite ready to give up on one thing: throwing BP.
"Oh yes, I am," he said with a smile. "I still have the second group. I like it. I like it."
Scott Chasen is a reporter with MLB.com based in Chicago and covered the Mariners on Friday.