SHANNON DRAYER

Drayer: Where Mariners stand as they enter final days of spring

Mar 21, 2024, 6:38 PM

Seattle Mariners Scott Servais...

Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais watches a 2024 spring training game. (John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

(John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

The hallways in the Seattle Mariners’ spring training complex Thursday afternoon were lined with suitcases, boxes, golf bags, tubs of toys and baby clothes, and various pieces of equipment. In the parking lot, three automobile transport trucks ready to load players’ cars.

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If you needed any more confirmation that spring training was winding down, the one night game of the spring in Peoria was getting set to be played. The Mariners are three days away from breaking camp.

“It’s the light at the end of the tunnel,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We can see the light.”

As the Mariners get closer to opening day (now just a week away), Servais had been leaning toward playing the full lineup Thursday night. Something more important came up: Ty France is not in the lineup. Servais told his first baseman to take an extra day as his wife is due to deliver their first child soon.

“It’s a personal day, a manager’s decision day, whatever you want to call it,” Servais said. “Coming off an off day, I suggested it might be great for him to spend an extra day at home.”

Servais has been there as two of his three kids were born during the season when he was playing.

“We believe it’s important. I always want to make sure guys understand, especially this time of the year, we have got flexibility in our schedule and whatnot (if you) need to do those things,” he said.

As it turns out, there is flexibility in the pitching schedule heading into the season, too. Luis Castillo will get an extra day as well and will pitch Friday instead of his normal day, which would be Thursday.

“There are a few holes in the schedule that allow us to do that,” he said. “We just thought it would be advantageous to give those guys the extra day.”

The pitching probables leading up to opening day are as following:

• Friday vs. Brewers: Castillo
• Friday at Diamondbacks: Emerson Hancock
• Saturday vs. White Sox: George Kirby
• Sunday vs. Cubs: Logan Gilbert
• Monday at Padres (Petco Park): Bryce Miller
• Tuesday at Padres (Petco Park): Bryan Woo

On Wednesday, there will be an optional workout for the team at T-Mobile Park, and then next Thursday the lights come on, the magenta carpet be rolled out and off they will go.

Before that, a few decisions remain to be made. With pitcher Casey Lawrence being re-assigned to minor league camp and reliever Carlos Vargas optioned to Tacoma on Thursday, the spring roster is at 39. The only remaining battle is for the two bullpen spots vacated by Matt Brash, who returned to the mound Wednesday and threw 20 pitches at about 70 percent, and Gregory Santos, who will in the coming days undergo an MRI to get cleared to resume throwing.

The announcement on the final moves will not be made until the team returns to Seattle. Just a few precious days in the sun left, then it is time to close the door on the not-so-offseason and get to the games that count.

More on the Seattle Mariners

Seattle Mariners Notebook: What’s behind offense’s big numbers?
AL West Preview: How do Mariners stack up vs Rangers, Astros?
Dipoto on what could unlock Mariners’ Dominic Canzone for a breakout
Mariners Notebook: Opening day starter set, plus a pitch clock wrinkle
Drayer: How Servais’ Seattle Mariners view start of season differently

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