Mariners notebook: Two new faces take the field

Mar 2, 2016, 8:52 AM | Updated: 9:50 am
The M’s begin Cactus League play today against San Diego, with first pitch at 12:10 on 710 ES...
The M's begin Cactus League play today against San Diego, with first pitch at 12:10 on 710 ESPN Seattle. (AP)
(AP)

As I reported yesterday, the Mariners have signed outfielder/first baseman Efren Navarro to a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training. He was in the clubhouse this morning. He’ll take part in morning drills and is on the lineup card for the Mariners’ Cactus League opener as an extra left-handed hitter.

Also on the lineup card in the extra hitters section is outfielder Guillermo Heredia, whose signing is official now that he has passed his physical. Heredia has been in the clubhouse the past few days but unable to dress or take part in drills as he was not yet signed.

Related: Latest news, photos, video and more from Mariners spring training

“I’m excited to see him,” manager Scott Servais said. “We get to look at BP today and see him moving around in the outfield. We’ll give him some time, break him in easily. I don’t know where our minor-league people see him going. It’s probably High-A ball, Double-A type setting. He just needs to play. It doesn’t matter where, just play.”

A number of readers have asked in the last week if Heredia would compete for a job in spring based on his numbers in Cuba, and I have tried to temper those expectations. The High-A/Double-A comment from Servais may be a surprise to some but it makes sense. The last complete season Heredia played was 2013-2014 and he has barely played since then as he dealt with his defection from Cuba and free agency.

Servais is correct. Heredia needs to play. If he plays well, he should move quickly through the system.

Lineup!

Nori Aoki, LF
Kyle Seager, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Franklin Gutierrez, DH
Adam Lind, 1B
Seth Smith, RF
Chris Iannetta, C
Ketel Marte, SS
Leonys Martin, CF

James Paxton, SP

Expect most of the hitters to get two at-bats before being lifted for others. Paxton, who said he will throw all of his pitches, should get two innings and about 30-35 pitches.

Also scheduled to pitch: Vidal Nuno, Jonathan Aro, Ryan Cook, Joel Peralta, Donn Roach and Tony Zych.

Cruz held out

Nelson Cruz is being held out with a sore knee. He is scheduled to run the bases today and make turns. While Cruz said yesterday he would be back in the lineup on Thursday, Servais said there is no rush and he will go with what trainer Rick Griffin says. We could see Cruz back tomorrow or perhaps they will wait a few days.

Notes

• The Mariners are as international as ever. Six countries are represented in the starting lineup: USA, Japan, Cuba, Canada, Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

• Upcoming probables: Thursday at Padres, Philip Humber vs. Nate Karns; Friday at Brewers, TBA vs. Taijuan Walker.

• The Mariners are 19-22-1 in all-time in Cactus League openers.

• Today’s game can be heard on 710 ESPN Seattle starting at noon PST.

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