Mariners notebook: Injury updates on Mallex Smith, Sam Tuivailala, more
PEORIA, Ariz. – Just nine days remain before the Mariners get on a plane and head for Japan. There is plenty of work to get done before then, and to help facilitate that a B game against Korea’s KT Wiz takes place on Field 2 in Peoria before the Mariners’ Cactus League game in the main stadium against the Padres – with Manny Machado at third base.
JP Crawford, SS
Shed Long, 3B
Kyle Lewis, CF
Ryon Healy, 1B
Daniel Vogelbach, DH
Jose Lobaton, C
Eric Filia, C
Tim Lopes, 2B
Dom Thompson-Williams, RF
Félix Hernández, RHP
Félix pitched four innings, as was scheduled.
Felix got his work in throwing against the KT Wiz of the KBO. 4 up and down innings. Dodged a bat thrown back his way. Gave up a 2-run homer. Breaking stuff looked good at times, fb command iffy in ins 3 and 4. Said he feels about where he should be at this point of the spring.
— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) March 5, 2019
Game pitchers posted: Elias, Gerson Bautista, Nick Rumbelow.
The Mariners want to make sure Elias is stretched out and ready to throw multiple innings if needed in the two games against the A’s in Japan.
Mariners vs. Padres Lineup!
Dee Gordon, 2B
Domingo Santana, LF
Jay Bruce, RF
Edwin Encarnación, 1B
Kyle Seager, 3B
Tim Beckham, SS
Omar Narváez, C
Jake Fraley, CF
Mike Leake, RHP
Game pitchers posted: Cory Gearrin, Shawn Armstrong, Dan Altavilla, Justin Dunn, Matt Tenuta.
Fraley replaces Mitch Haniger, who was scratched from the lineup with continued but improving back stiffness. Haniger said he tweaked his back lifting weights last week but that it is not serious. He has been able to participate in all workouts and cage sessions and we should see him back in the lineup in the next couple of days.
• CF Mallex Smith has been cleared by team doctors to resume all baseball activities. He played catch on Monday and will take some dry swings in the cages today. He is probably a week away from returning to games and will not be rushed, according to manager Scott Servais. “The slower the better,” Servais said. “It’s a long season. You are not going to rush him out there to play in two games or even to make sure for he is ready for that Opening Night when we get back to Seattle, it’s secondary. And we have got time.”
• RHP Anthony Swarzak (shoulder) has resumed throwing bullpens and is working toward a live batting practice session.
• Servais has put the brakes on 1B Evan White, who is dealing with a slight hamstring strain. “Evan is not in position to make our team out of this camp so let’s not screw up his season and put him behind the 8-ball for 6-8 weeks. I would expect we would see him in some games again before we leave but no hurry.”
• RHP Sam Tuivailala (achilles surgery) is ahead of schedule in his recovery and it is looking like he will be able to get up on the mound before the team leaves for Japan.
Update on Kikuchi’s transition to MLB
Yusei Kikuchi will stay in regular rotation this week and get the ball Thursday against the Reds. So far so good for Kikuchi, who is transitioning from pitching every four days (as they do in Japan) to every five days.
“It is a big deal,” said Servais. “Let’s get a feel for that now instead of pitching once a week in spring training and then we are going to flip the switch. I don’t think that’s fair to him either. He wants to pitch. He wants to pitch more frequently, he wants to get used to that routine so that is what we are going to do.”
As for Kikuchi’s pre-game warmup routine, which was a bit different before his last start Saturday with Kikuchi staying in the bullpen playing light catch in the top half of the first inning rather than playing catch in front of the dugout, Servais sees progress there as well.
“Slowly we are learning him as much as he is learning us,” Servais said. “We are not going to say, ‘No, you are not going to do that right away.’ Just, ‘Do you really need to do that or do you say you need to do that.’ We’re going to find out. He’s been great. Open to things we have thrown at him and we are very open in listening to him. We want the best version of Yusei and so far it’s been really good.”
• Starters for the two games in Japan should be announced by the end of the week.
• The Mariners will play an intra-squad game – all minor league players except for the pitchers – on Thursday to get the pitchers work. Justus Sheffield will start.
• The MLB Network is in camp today for their “30 Camps in 30 Days” series. They originally were scheduled to film in Peoria over a week ago but were rained out. Brian Kenny, Carlos Pena and Sean Casey will spend the day getting to know the new-look Mariners.