Mariners notebook: Lineup beginning to look like Opening Day

Mar 25, 2016, 10:55 AM | Updated: 10:56 am
Each Mariners starter is expected to play at least one full nine-inning game before spring training...
Each Mariners starter is expected to play at least one full nine-inning game before spring training ends. (AP)
(AP)

Today the Mariners run a lineup out against the White Sox that looks very similar to what we could see Opening Day in a week and a half against Texas.

With just eight spring training games remaining, the regulars are getting more and more work. We should see each individual starter get at least one game where they play start to finish, and we should see the complete lineup at some point. The pitching is getting closer to regular form and, in turn, helping get the hitters to where they need to be, according to Nelson Cruz.

“I think the more they are around the strike zone and you see more pitches in the zone, it helps you,” Cruz said. “You know you see the close pitches and take the ones that are above the line, below the line. You want to know you are seeing the strike zone and swinging at good strikes.”

Cruz says the final week is important to the hitters.

“You want to have a good feeling about the game,” he said. “Your mind is getting more ready, your body; it is what it is. Scott is doing a pretty good job pushing us, making sure we stay in shape and start fresh.”

Lineup!

Nori Aoki, LF

Kyle Seager, 3B

Robinson Cano, 2B

Nelson Cruz, DH

Adam Lind, 1B

Franklin Gutierrez, RF

Chris Iannetta, C

Luis Sardinas, SS

Leonys Martin, CF

Felix Hernandez, P

Gutierrez may or may not remain in this lineup. He’s been out six days with the flu, and while he was in the clubhouse Friday morning trying to get ready for the game, he didn’t look great and could be a late scratch…Provided the matchup with the White Sox does not turn into a four-hour affair, Iannetta is scheduled to catch the entire game today.

Battle for first

The battle for the backup first baseman spot appears to be down to Dae-Ho Lee and Stefen Romero. As I have mentioned, Lee appears to be making quick adjustments at the plate.

“I think he feels real good against left-handed pitching,” said Scott Servais. “I think the right-handers that have a little more (velocity), the sharper slider, breaking ball, has been a challenge like it is for most right-handed hitters. It is going to be tough for him not knowing the league or pitchers.”

Hitting left-handed pitching will be the primary role of whoever wins the position. They will, however, face right-handed pitching as well from time to time. As for defense, it doesn’t appear that will be a separator between Lee, Romero and Jesus Montero.

“(They are) pretty close,” Servais said of each player’s defensive ability. “Some guys might have softer hands, some guys have a little bit more range, other guys just look more comfortable over there. It’s a trust factor sometimes when you put a guy in there. I don’t think there is one that is head and shoulders above the other defensively. I’ve been surprised Romero looks very comfortable over there. Are they Gold Glovers? No, they are not Gold Glovers, but they can certainly handle the rigors of the position.”

Note

• Hisashi Iwakuma’s final two outings of the spring will be against minor leaguers. Iwakuma is scheduled to start in minor league games tomorrow and on the off day, March 31.

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