WCIA — Former Illini Joey Gerber isn’t going to Seattle this week with a lot of expectations, he’s going to try and enjoy the ride and competition as much as possible. But he’s not downplaying the fact that he’s got a shot to make the Mariners major league roster, either. The former Illini preferred walk-on was added to the Mariners 60-man training camp roster on Sunday, a marquee moment in his young professional career.
“I’m really excited for this opportunity,” Gerber said on a Zoom interview Monday. “I’m just going to take it day-by-day because that’s all you really can do in this situation with everything that’s going on in the world. Not many people get this opportunity to be in Seattle.”
Gerber was at the Mariners’ major league camp in March before COVID-19 shut down the sports world. The Minnesota native went back home to live with his parents, with limited access to weights or the ability to play catch or throw off a mound. Gerber was selected in the 8th round of the 2018 draft by Seattle, and has played for four different minor league affiliates since. He was promoted to the Arkansas Travelers last June, the organization’s AA team. Gerber went 1-2 with a 1.59 ERA in 19 appearances. He struck out 30 hitters in 22.2 innings pitched.
“Even if I don’t make the big league roster, and they do put me on the taxi squad, I’m still going to be in Seattle,” Gerber said about the opportunity to throw against big league hitters. “It’s going to be fun, I’m just excited for the season and excited we’re playing baseball again, you know?”
Players are expected to report to their home cities for training camp on Wednesday. Workouts are expected to begin on Friday, July 3. The 2020 regular season begins on either Thursday, July 23 or Friday, July 24.
At Illinois, Gerber tied the program mark for saves in a season with 14, converting all 14 of his save chances as a junior.