Notebook: Short-handed Mariners aim to be full-strength next week
PEORIA, Ariz. – The Mariners, as an organization, are stretched thin on Friday. There are two split squad games, plus a number of regulars out due to a head cold that is making its way around the camp, had one minor league staffer walking the halls in the morning shaking his head at how they would field their games with 39 players being called up for the two big league games.
Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano and James Paxton are all out with the cold. Jarrod Dyson, you may have noticed, has been absent from lineups for a few days as well. His problem, a little different.
“He’s fine, his legs are just a little sore,” manager Scott Servais said. “I think going back to that long game (against) Milwaukee took its toll on him. He just wants to make sure he feels good and is ready to go. He was ahead of pace probably to have the most at-bats he has ever had in a spring training.”
Servais expects Dyson to get into a lineup this weekend. The time missed is something to keep an eye on, however, as the plan for now is to have Dyson be an everyday player, something he hasn’t been since he entered the league in 2010. The most plate appearances he has had in the MLB came last year with 337 in 107 games (83 starts). Playing every day could be an adjustment.
“He’s not a big guy,” Servais pointed out. “The way he plays, it’s a speed game, it’s quick twitch. We just have got to make sure he’s right.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Cruz, who is also sitting out Friday.
“He wanted to play today,” Servais said, shaking his head. “No heroes now. The whole focus for me is to make sure we get in a good spot this week, start playing our guys, stretch them out eight, nine innings and build to opening day.”
Between the World Baseball Classic absences, 10 days of extreme heat, head colds and a tough travel schedule this week, Servais wants to be careful in building his regulars up right. Next week will be cooler with the majority of the games in Peoria, so guys can get back on a regular schedule and routine at just the right time.
Mariners vs Royals, 1:05
Guillermo Heredia, CF
Mitch Haniger, RF
Kyle Seager, 3B
Danny Valencia, 1B
Carlos Ruiz, C
Mike Freeman, SS
Steven Baron, DH
Eric Filia, LF
Jay Baum, 2B
Hisashi Iwkauma, RHP
Also scheduled to pitch: Dean Kiekhefer, Dan Altavilla.
Mariners at Angels, 5:10
Leonys Martin, CF
Jean Segura, SS
Ben Gamel, RF
Taylor Motter, 1B
Taylor Smith, 2B
Tuffy Gosewisch, C
Kyle Waldrop, DH
Zach Shank, 3B
James Ramsey, LF
Ariel Miranda, LHP
• James Paxton, who was originally scheduled to pitch Friday but was scratched with the head cold, will throw in a minor league game Saturday.
• Not in ink yet, but Servais said this morning that the Mariners will probably go with Iwakuma as the No. 2 starter out of the gates in the regular season.
• Edwin Diaz returned to camp this morning after a celebration in Puerto Rico yesterday. He played catch and threw a short bullpen under the watch of Mel Stottlemyre Jr. and a small handful of fans, one group holding the Puerto Rican flag. He is scheduled to pitch Sunday against the Reds. I had a chat with him following his bullpen and will have that up on the blog later this afternoon.