The Mariners, at least initially, opted Friday for a familiar face in selecting Nasusel Cabrera as an interim replacement for departed bullpen coach Mike Hampton.
"This means a lot to me," Cabrera said. "This is the great opportunity that I’ve been waiting for for 25 years — I’ve been a coach for 25 years."
Cabrera, who turns 50 next week, has been the club’s primary batting practice pitcher since joining the major-league staff in July 2015. He previously served as the organization’s pitching coordinator for Latin America from 2010-15.
"He knows the personnel," manager Scott Servais said, "and he knows the personalities of our team, our pitchers and our coaching staff. I think it’s an easy transition.
Never miss a local story.
Sign up today for unlimited digital access to our website, apps, the digital newspaper and more.
"It’s an important role, but you don’t want to disturb six different affiliates by moving all kinds of people around. Nasu is very capable, and I’m looking forward to having him down there."
Hampton resigned July 9 after the Mariners’ final game prior to the All-Star break after serving 1 1/2 years as the bullpen coach. He cited a desire to spend additional time with his family as the reason for his departure.
Cabrera cited the key duty in his new role as maintaining a positive attitude throughout the relief corps.
"There is a lot of frustration in the bullpen," he said. "Keeping everybody happy is the main thing. I can connect with pitchers because I know them very well."
Cabrera joined the Mariners’ organization in 2007 as the pitching coach for their Dominican affiliate. In addition to his coordinator duties, he served as the pitching coach 2009-13 at short-season Pulaski and in 2014 at short-season Everett.
While Cabrera will now spend considerably more time with pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre and the pitching staff, he will continue to take his regular turn as a pitcher in batting practice.
"Oh, yes," he confirmed. "I still have the second group, and I like it."
Prior to joining the organization, Cabrera spent 18 seasons as a pitching coach in the Dominican Republic. He pitched also pitched from 1986-88 in the lower minors in the Oakland organization.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners