SHANNON DRAYER

Mariners notebook: Final roster decisions could come soon

Mar 22, 2018, 5:51 PM | Updated: 6:41 pm
Mitch Haniger is one of the Mariners getting extra at-bats in minor league games. (AP)...
Mitch Haniger is one of the Mariners getting extra at-bats in minor league games. (AP)
(AP)

PEORIA, Ariz. – The original plan Mariners manager Scott Servais had laid out for the team the week before opening day was to pull back on the innings for his regulars to make sure they were fresh at the start of the season. The ramping up would be done in the penultimate week of spring training.

Servais: Seager using whole field, could be in for big year

That looked good on paper, but then the dings and dents piled up and with a week to go there are players who are out, players who are returning and players who are taking their at-bats in minor league games. Not to worry, says Servais, who understands the fans’ concerns. The path may be different but he is confident his team will get to the starting gate.

“We had a rough year last year with injuries, there are some things that crept up early this spring,” Servais said. “The goal when we leave camp here was to be as fresh and as healthy as we could be with our guys. Outside of Ben Gamel not being available and the David Phelps issue, other than that I think our guys will be ready to go.”

The team plane leaves Tuesday afternoon for Seattle but we should know Saturday or Sunday just exactly who will be on it. Servais said Thursday afternoon that final roster decisions would be made sooner rather than later. Will they carry an extra first baseman? Who will the utility player be? And what reliever will take the place of David Phelps on the roster? (Assuming he is in camp already, which isn’t perhaps the best assumption.)

Stay tuned…

Lineup! vs. Rangers

Dee Gordon, CF
Andrew Romine, RF
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nelson Cruz, DH
Kyle Seager, 3B
Ryon Healy, 1B
Guillermo Heredia, LF
Taylor Motter, SS
Mike Marjama, C

Marco Gonzales, LHP

Scheduled to pitch: Juan Nicasio, Edwin Diaz, Chasen Bradford, Erik Goeddel.

Notes

• The team situational hitting drill that has been ongoing throughout the spring came to an end Thursday afternoon with Team Zunino beating Team Seager on – what else? – a walkoff Zunino grand slam. Kyle Seager now owes the entire camp a Chick-fil-A breakfast.

• Jean Segura, who is dealing with a sprained thumb, should get on the field Friday for live batting practice, and if that goes well he will return to games Saturday. He has been taking work in the field.

• Mitch Haniger, who missed time earlier this spring with a hand issue, took his at-bats in a minor league game today. He is working his way through a timing issue and said that everything felt good in the seven at-bats he took on the back fields.

• With his calf not 100 percent yet, Ichiro is also scheduled to get at-bats in minor league games over the next couple of days. In the minor league games he can get as many at-bats as he needs and not have to run.

• Gamel continues to progress in his return from a strained oblique. He is hitting off a tee in the cages and has taken some soft toss as well. “He’s farther along than I thought he would be,” Servais said. “He still needs to have spring training. He’s going to need at-bats. I don’t have a (return) date, but he is ahead of schedule.” The club may elect to bring Gamel up to Seattle for opening day but he will need to return to Peoria for extended spring training to get games before the minor league season begins.

• Erasmo Ramirez (lat strain) will throw his first bullpen either Friday or Saturday. The belief is he will be ready for the second start the Mariners No. 5 starter spot would make, but if all goes well in the bullpen the M’s should be able to map out a return schedule.

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Mariners notebook: Final roster decisions could come soon