Mariners’ George Kirby fulfills a dream in a ‘surreal’ homecoming

George Kirby’s family and friends traveled across the country last weekend to watch his MLB debut.

They only have to travel the short drive from Rye for his second major league start.

Kirby will take the hill for the Mariners Saturday night at Citi Field and take on the Mets about 30 minutes from his Westchester County birthplace.

“It’s great,” Kirby said ahead of the Mets’ 2-1 loss to the Mariners. “Couldn’t ask for a better lineup, throw in Seattle and then come back home for my second start. It’s pretty surreal.”

The 24-year-old right-hander was impressive in his first start on Sunday against the Rays, throwing six shutout innings with seven strikeouts. About 15-20 family members and friends traveled to Seattle for his debut, but he expects at least 50 of them to be at Citi Field on Saturday.

George Kirby
George Kirby grew up in Westchester County.
USA TODAY sports

“Last week my friends promised to come, and they did,” Kirby said. “It’s just great that they’re keeping up with me. I went through a lot of my buddies with them in high school baseball and even before that, so it’s just cool to see them here.”

Kirby, who grew up a Yankees fan, graduated from Rye High School in 2016. In June he was an MLB draft candidate, but he told “pretty much everyone at Elon University that I would go to school.” The Mets eventually picked him in the 32nd round of that year, though he never really considered signing.

However, following Kirby’s strong career at Elon, the Mariners drafted him 20th overall in 2019, with a fast track to the big leagues.

“Just playing against a New York team is something I’ve always dreamed of doing, it’s pretty cool,” Kirby said.

Kumar Rocker, the Vanderbilt right-hander whom the Mets drafted 10th overall last year but didn’t sign because of concerns with his elbow, signed with the independent Frontier League’s Tri-City ValleyCats on Friday.

Kumar Rockers
Kumar Rockers

Rocker is expected to begin pitching for the ValleyCats in about a month, reported The Post’s Joel Sherman, and will do so by the July draft.

Jeff McNeil played a 14 pitch-at-bat in the second inning before hitting an infield single. … Brandon Nimmo (2-for-3) extended his hitting streak to a career-high nine games.

This weekend marked the Mariners’ first trip to Citi Field since it opened in 2009. Prior to Friday, they were the only team not to have played at Citi Field. The teams were originally scheduled to play in Queens in 2020 before the schedule was cut to 60 games and limited to regional opponents due to the pandemic. Mariners’ George Kirby fulfills a dream in a ‘surreal’ homecoming


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