He came to spring training to make an impression, and with less than two weeks left in camp, two words describe Shawn Kelley.
The morning after recording a 1-2-3 inning and his first Cactus League save, Kelley laughed at the question: Had he saved the baseball?
"No," he said, laughing. "One of my strengths is staying with the plan, and the plan all spring has been to throw well. Sometimes I've thrown well and given up runs, sometimes I've thrown well and gotten good results.
"The only thing I can control is throwing well."
With the Seattle bullpen still very much a work in progress, Kelley hasn't so much worked his way into the Mariners plans as kept from pushed out of them. Two rounds of cuts, and Kelley's status hasn't changed.
"Do I think about the possibilities? I try not to get ahead of myself," he said. "When I get home at night and put my feet up, it's definitely a good feeling to still be in big-league camp. But there are still a lot of arms here, and a lot of moves to be made."
Kelley at 25 is a bit like Brandon Morrow was two years ago at 22. He shouldn't have made the team, but his right arm kept throwing strikes – high 90s strikes – and eventually the Mariners took Morrow north.
Could it happen again?
"He's been impressive, and not just the way he's thrown," manager Don Wakamatsu said. "His mound presence, his maturity, his thought process."
No, the spring numbers aren't overwhelming, but Kelley's body of work over the last two seasons has been. In 61 minor league games, none higher than Class AA, he's gone 5-2 with a 1.98 earned run average and 15 saves.
The clock is running, and Kelley remains a longshot to make the opening day roster.
But he's still here.
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