By Shannon Drayer
PEORIA, Ariz. – This is it. The final game of the spring. It is a show-and-go with travel right after, so we will be little light on the content today. Listen to or watch a ballgame and get on with your day.
One newsy item to report – the Mariners now officially have a 25-man roster. The team placed Hisashi Iwakuma, Taijuan Walker and Stephen Pryor on the 15-day DL retroactive to March 21st. Some quick updates on all three.
Iwakuma was given a clean bill of health by the doctor Friday and is now a full-go in his throwing program. The splint can come off the finger once and for all (he had still been wearing it some) and he can begin to throw with normal intensity. He has missed a full spring training and the arm will have to be built back up, but that shouldn’t take long as he has been able to do arm and shoulder work. He has yet to throw a bullpen so there is no estimated date for his return, but I would expect late April. He will travel with the team to Anaheim and most likely stay with the team for the majority of his work and then be sent out for individual starts with minor league teams and then return after. The Mariners will want to keep a close eye on him.
Walker is most likely closer to a return. He is scheduled to throw in Peoria Sunday and then should be sent out for his first rehab start, most likely to High Desert.
Pryor has thrown in a number of sim and minor league games, and the word is he will be sent to Double-A Jackson. With him it is about continuing to build arm strength and refining his pitches and command. He has had no setbacks this spring and could be close to ready.
While the other two will most likely be brought back as soon as they are healthy and built up, I think the Mariners will be looking for consistency coming out of the pen when it comes to Pryor.
One last name that some of you might be surprised to not see on the list is Brandon Maurer. Maurer lost a few weeks to back troubles and has to build up innings, but he was optioned to Tacoma instead of being put on the DL.
Well, well, well. A lefty on the hill, and this is the final lineup of the spring. Will we see a platoon situation in left? I hope so. Dustin Ackley hitting ninth against lefties? Interesting. Kyle Seager further down the order. Is this the lefty lineup?
One additional note – Corey Hart is back in the lineup for the first time since March 20. He has been getting at bats in minor league games the last three days however.
Just a reminder, once again the Mariners will host an open house on Opening Day (Monday) at Safeco Field. Fans can come to the field to watch the Mariners take on the Angels in HD on MarinersVision. All fans that come through the gates will receive a free True to the Blue T-Shirt. Tickets are just $1 with all proceeds benefiting Northwest Harvest. Kids under 14 are free but will need a tickets, which are available online, at team stores, at the Safeco Field ticket office or at Ticketmaster. Gates open at 5:50 p.m., first pitch is at 7:05 p.m. I obviously haven’t been to an Opening Day open house but have heard rave reviews. Sounds like a neat event.