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Mariners Shed Long Jr.
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Mariners Notebook: Getting creative without cuts, plus Shed Long Jr. update

Mariners second baseman Shed Long Jr. hasn't played a game yet this spring. (AP)

It appears cut days will not be a thing this spring for the Mariners.

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The familiar sight of a newly-minted minor leaguer pushing the contents of his locker in a cart to the minor league side will not be seen by those who are allowed in the building under COVID-19 protocols. The reason, somewhat simple: With minor league camp not starting until the big leaguers break camp for the regular season, there is nowhere to send them.

The minor league clubhouse is already full as many of the 74 that are currently in big league camp are already using those lockers, appropriately spaced for social distancing.

The spring roster will most likely remain full up until near the end, but getting the regulars work will remain the priority as camp goes on. As they get closer to the season, there will be fewer opportunities in games for those who do not make the Mariners’ opening day 26-man roster. Most will get to enjoy a full big league camp but their end destination will remain the same. How they are told is something manager Scott Servais has been thinking about.

“I’m not in favor of posting a list of players – ‘You make the team, you didn’t make the team,'” he said.

Traditionally, there would be a series of cuts throughout the final few weeks of camp. Players being sent to the minor leagues would be told by the manager in his office. For Servais, those meetings are more than just delivering the bad news; rather, they are part of the development process.

“It is a sit down (with an) individual, really take the time and effort. The players clearly understand where we think they are at and what they need to improve upon,” he said. “I really take a lot of pride and value in those meetings because they are important to players. Often times it is a good back and forth with the player and it’s something that’s really important we get it right.”

The hows and whens have yet to be determined, but those meetings will continue.

“It’s so they understand the position they are in and what’s expected in them as they transition back to the minor leagues and hopefully put themselves in a position to help us out at some point,” said Servais.

Lineup!

J.P. Crawford, SS
Mitch Haniger, RF
Kyle Seager, 3B
Evan White, 1B
Tom Murphy, C
Taylor Trammell, CF
Dylan Moore, 2B
Jake Fraley, DH
Julio Rodríguez, LF

Yusei Kikuchi, SP

The Mariners are scheduled to play a full nine innings Monday against Cleveland with a 12:05 p.m. first pitch.

Kikuchi will be on a pitch count of around 50. Also scheduled to pitch: Rafael Montero (first appearance), Joey Gerber, Brady Lail, Erik Swanson, Roenis Elías and Brandon Brennan (first appearance).

Mariners notes

• Servais, who is a fan of the Apple TV series “Ted Lasso,” greeted the media who were on the morning Zoom session with coffee and scone in hand. “Scones with the skipper,” he said.

• Shed Long Jr., who is coming off September shin surgery, is still not 100 percent and has yet to appear in a game. He’s worked out with the team and hit in live batting practice but has suffered a setback dealing with inflammation. Servais said that they will pull back on his work for now.

• Ljay Newsome will start Tuesday’s game against the Royals, while James Paxton will throw a sim game.

Follow Mariners insider Shannon Drayer on Twitter.

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Starting Pitcher

Yusei Kikuchi