Zunino Out

We found out on Friday that the injury to Mike Zunino was more severe than we were led on to believe. It was announced that he is going on the ten day disabled list. He could be out longer because he has the same injury the oblique strain that Ben Gamel has and Mitch Haniger had last year. Depending on how serious it is will depend the time he will be on the disabled list.

At this point it sounds like bad news however time will deal. Mike Marjama who started the home opener will be the starting catcher for further notice. He could actually be better than we thought. It will depend how he steps up. The Mariners recalled David Freitas from Tacoma who they picked up off of waivers from the Atlanta Braves during the off-season. Like Marjama he is considered a rookie as well. How much playing time he gets will depend on Marjama as well. The Mariners will go out searching to see if they can find a veteran catcher who can help while Zunino is out.

Marjama doesn’t have the power or the experience that Zunino has but he could do an admirable job too. He seemed to do well in the opener. He actually was hurt in the second inning on an interference call but was able to survive. Who knows we may have found another catcher that the Mariners can depend on. We will see won’t we?

Look back in time Kyle Seager became the regular third baseman after the left fielder who I can’t recall his name was injured. Chone Figgins who started at third base was moved to left field and Seager took over as the third baseman. He has been the regular guy there ever since. I am not saying that Marjama will be the next Seager but stranger things have happened.

Our hope right now is that no other injuries will happen to the Mariners. At least if we had an injury coming from the catcher’s position isn’t as serious as it would be for any other position on the roster.

Saturday afternoon James Paxton takes the mound for the Mariners. This will be another tough game against a very good Cleveland Indians team. If the Mariners can win another close game I am up for it for sure. Go M’s.

Mariners Win Opening Night

The opening night at Safeco Field was exciting with the largest crowd in its regular season history of over forty-seven thousand and they were not disappointed with the Mariners beating the Cleveland Indians 2-1.

Came along in the game was the return of King Felix who pitched five and a third innings giving up only two hits, two walks and striking out four. Felix may not be the same pitcher he once was however he was close to it for one night anyway. Although his fast ball isn’t as fast as it once was he does have other pitches like his changeup and curve ball that can be quite effective. We will have to see if this continues throughout the season. We could have a special season if Felix can stay this way and keep healthy along with the rest of the starting rotation.

Felix was replaced in the sixth inning by Dan Altavilla with one out and was able to get the batter to hit into a double play to end the inning. It was the only inning he pitched in. He was followed by Nick Vincent in the seventh inning. He wasn’t as effective giving up a run with two outs and gave up three hits. The one question I have is why put on the shift like the Mariners did with two outs. I don’t mind moving Cano further toward first base but to move Segura over the second bag and leaving Seager the only position player on that side of the field doesn’t make sense. I think it is OK with one out but two outs is a different story. The batter can hit the ball by mistake to the other side which is what happened in this case. With two outs I would play straight up especially in a close game like this one.

Juan Nicasio pitched well in the eighth inning and Edwin Diaz closed out the game however he had a little trouble hitting two batters but did strike out three batters. The only thing I didn’t like was the second batter that was called hit’s batsmen was it grazed his uniform. I think they need the change the rule on it where they don’t call hit’s batsmen when grazing the uniform. I know it may be hard to tell however in this case Indian manager Terry Francona asked for a replay.

The Mariners scored their two runs in the first inning on a home run by Nelson Cruz otherwise Cory Kluber pitched an outstanding game going all the way for the Indians. He continues pitching this way he will probably win another eighteen games or more. We can hope for the same out of Felix.

Besides the home run by Cruz with Cano on base the hitting star for the Mariners was Mitch Haniger who had three hits in the game including a double and two singles. Unfortunately no batters after him could bring him home. Late in the game Dee Gordon got his first hit as a Mariner. He walked earlier in the game. I am sure we will see more of that in the games ahead.

The Mariners have Friday off and return for a Saturday afternoon game followed by another one on Sunday against the Cleveland Indians. James Paxton will start the game against Carlos Carrasco who had a record of 18-6 last season so the Mariners will have another tough pitcher to face. It would be nice to have another low scoring game where the bullpen will do their thing along with Paxton. The Big Maple threw more pitches during spring training so he may go further in this one than Felix. Whatever the outcome will be on Saturday it will be a good way to start out the season. We hope that another big crowd shows up to bring electricity to Safeco Field and we can see a lot of this happening throughout the season. Go M’s.

Opening Day

Well it finally has arrived opening day for the Seattle Mariners and all of baseball. All the teams will be starting today or tonight except the game in Cincinnati that was postponed a couple days ago until Friday.  The opening of baseball all of us baseball fans are optimistic at the same time realistic. We feel that are team might have a chance if we happen to be good.

The Seattle Mariners should place second in the West Division with the talent they have long as injuries don’t happen like last season. I see the Los Angeles and Texas Rangers going for third in the division. Like the Mariners both teams have questions marks in the starting rotation. The Houston  Astros should win the division once again and possibly win the World Series. The have the best starting rotation in the American League.  Last year the Mariners won seventy-eight because of the injuries to the starting rotation after winning eighty-six games in 2016.   .

I am sure most fans are like me they wish the Mariners had picked up a couple starters for this season. As long as they are healthy I see the Mariners winning eighty-six games like two years ago. A lot depends of course on their starting pitching  if Felix Hernandez and James Paxton stay healthy along with Mike  Leake. I look forward to Marco Gonzales having a good season after having a good spring training. At this point Ariel Miranda who was only healthy pitcher all season long last year will be the fifth starter. I see him improving on last years stats. The important one is giving up less home runs. I actually hope all the pitchers give up less home runs.

The Mariners might see the return of Iwakuma by or before June 1. He will help out the team either as a starter or a long reliever. Speaking of long relievers the Mariners have the return of Wade LeBlanc who they picked up off waivers last weekend and Casey Lawrence. Neither guy am I jumping overjoyed about but likely will pitch when the team is either way ahead or behind. I don’t expect either one to spend the whole season for the Mariners. Depending how much they pitch which we hope isn’t a lot they could go down to triple A for a period of time too,

The rest of the lineup is set for the time being anyway. Besides the regulars we will see Ichiro Suzuki in left field some of the time along with Guillermo Heredia until Ben Gamel returns. Gamel right now is ahead of schedule to return and took batting practice Wednesday at Safeco Field. Likely he will be sent to Tacoma for a rehab assignment. Ichiro will be starting the game in left on opening night but I am sure we will see Heredia at some point as well.

The infield will be the same characters except at first base. Ryon Healy who the Mariners got in a trade from the Oakland A’s will start. Daniel Vogelbach will be his backup for now and he may dh as well depending on the health of Nelson Cruz. Scott Servais plans to start Vogelbach in one game in  the opening series against the Cleveland Indians. The second series of the season the Mariners go to play the Giants in San Francisco so both Vogelbach and Cruz will be available for pinch hitting.  It is a two game series then the Mariners go to Minnesota to play the Twins in a three game series. Again they will have Friday off.

This year Mike Marjama will be the backup catcher to Mike Zunino to start the season. The Mariners picked him up from the Atlanta Braves last August and he played a little in September including getting his first major league home run. Zunino is expected to play a lot especially early in  the season however when the Mariners start playing a lot of games in the middle of April we may see Marjama a couple times of the year.

The Mariners offense looks in order and they should score a lot of runs. The question mark like we know has to do with the starting pitcher whether they can stay healthy or not. The Mariners have a solid bullpen outside of losing David Phelps for the season. The importance is for the starters to go far into the game as they can so the bullpen isn’t overused.

So let the season begin with optimism and hoping that in July that the Mariners will still be in contention for a spot in the playoffs. We know for sure it will be an adventure and that is why we like baseball so much. Oh yes we can’t forget that Safeco Field has a new grass field this year so hopefully no crazy bounces on in the infield. Go M’s.

Mariners Open at Home Against Cleveland

The Seattle Mariners open the season at home this year starting on March 29 against the Cleveland Indians. The Indians led their division winning one hundred and two games. They won the division over second place Minnesota Twins by seventeen games. I expect that the Indians are favored to win their division once again.

Corey Kluber will take the mound in the first game against Felix Hernandez who will start the season opener for the tenth straight season. Kluber had a record of 18-9 with an era of 2.25. Also in four of his five full seasons he has pitched over two hundred innings which is now a rarity in major league baseball.

I am not sure whether the Mariners will win the season opener against Kluber however if they can win two out of the three games I would call it a success. The Mariners will have a day off on Friday and then James Paxton will start on Saturday and Mike Leake on Sunday. The Mariners have a day off on Monday then start a series against the Giants on Tuesday in San Francisco. Not sure whether fourth starter Marco Gonzales will start that game or they will start Felix after having four days off. A lot may depend on how Felix does in the home opener or they may have already decided to start with the four man rotation no matter what. Gonzales started on Tuesday against the Colorado Rockies in the final game of spring training. He pitched four and two/thirds innings giving up seven hits and two runs. He had two walks and three strike outs so ended up with solid spring training with an era of 2.08. If Gonzales can pitch anything like that for the season the Mariners will take it.

The Mariners won the final game on Tuesday winning 5-3 on a three run homer by Daniel Vogelbach who has had an outstanding spring training that led him to making the team. He is still looking at being the backup at first base and designated hitter. The Mariners are hoping to get him into at least one of the games against the Indians. He will be available for pinch hitting against the Giants. Vogelbach likely will be sent to Tacoma when the Mariners need a fifth starter. It will depend though how well Ryon Healy plays as well. Right now Healy has the upper hand however that can change.

Ichiro played on Tuesday having four at bats didn’t get a hit, struck out once and walked once. According to manager Scott Servais Ichiro should be healthy to start the season on the roster however starting game one is in question at this point. Personally I like Guillermo Heredia so I hope you he gets the chance to play more often than not. I am sure he will be a defensive replacement when he doesn’t start. If Ichiro does start because he is healthy enough and Kluber is a tough right handed pitcher who might give Heredia some trouble. In either case one or the other will bat ninth. I am sure we will see Heredia in the game even if he doesn’t start.

The Mariners announced they signed veteran outfielder Jayson Werth to a minor league contract and he will spend time in Arizona for extended spring training until he goes to Tacoma. Whether we see him will depend on how he does in Tacoma and whether the Mariners will need another outfielder because of injuries. Not sure when Ben Gamel will be ready to go however he should see some action in Tacoma before coming back to the Mariners.

I will primarily writing stories about how the players are doing throughout the season and the ball club. I don’t plan on day to day games unless something comes over me that looks good. I will write previews of each series throughout the year. I do hope the Mariners will keep me going with good stories. I will let you know how I see things go after the first game though and how Felix works out and preview of James Paxton and Mike Leake who will start the second and third games. Go M’s.

 

Here we are on March 27 with the Seattle Mariners having one last game remaining in spring training and the season begins in two days. The roster is somewhat set for the first game of the season though a spot or two could change. The Mariners could use someone to take the spot of David Phelps in the bullpen.

The opening roster looks like this for Thursday with four starters beginning with Felix Hernandez who will start the opening game for the tenth season in a row followed by James Paxton, Mike Leake and Marco Gonzales who had outstanding spring training. If Gonzales can pitch anything like he did in spring training the Mariners will do well in that spot. We do know over the season there will be highs and lows so if he can keep the lows to a minimum we could see a solid spot in the four hole. Right now the Mariners don’t need a fifth starter until the middle of September so they are going with two long relievers in Wade LeBlanc and Casey Lawrence. This could change if the Mariners pick up another reliever. The most likely candidate to be the fifth starter is Ariel Miranda who will start the season in Tacoma. There is no time table right now when Erasmo Ramirez will be able to pitch and he likely will go on a rehab assignment first.

The Mariners will be going with two catchers in Mike Zunino and Mike Marjama. Zunino started off rough in spring training however he came alive in the late stages of spring  including recently hitting three home runs in a game. His bat could make the difference in the lineup for the Mariners. Depending how well he is hitting the Mariners are planning to start Marjama a couple times a week though early on with off days it may not happen for a couple weeks.

The infield will have Ryon Healy at first base along with Daniel Vogelbach who has made the opening day roster. The Mariners will try to get Vogelbach some action in the first series and then when going  to San Francisco where he likely will be used as a pinch hitter. How long he will be with the Mariners will depend how well he hits along with Healy as well. Healy saw  action in spring training the last couple weeks. Vogelbach likely will be sent down when the Mariners will need the fifth starter however that can depend how much the bullpen is being used as well.

The other three spots in the infield are familiar  with Robinson at second base, Jean Segura at shortstop and Kyle Seager at third base. The utility player at this time is Andrew Romine who can actually play every position on the field. He likely is the emergency catcher as well.

The outfield will be Dee Gordon in centerfield with Mitch Haniger in right. Ichiro played on Monday in a minor league game getting one hit in six at bats. Right now don’t know if he will start on opening day or whether Guillermo Heredia will instead. Heredia will be starting some in left field when Ichiro doesn’t and he will give Gordon and Haniger rest when they need it. Ben Gamel is ahead of schedule in his rehab from injury however he will probably start his season on a rehab assignment himself. How soon he will be back may depend how well Ichiro does playing in left field. Heredia is a solid backup outfielder for the Mariners especially for his defense.

Now the look at the bullpen; I already mentioned that LeBlanc and Lawrence will start out as long relievers. So they will be the two guys who will pitch at least two innings when called upon. The other relievers will be Dan Altavilla who had outstanding spring training. Depending whether the Mariners have a lead or not he will probably come in the sixth or seventh inning where Phelps was expected to.

Nick Vincent and Juan Nicasio will pitch the eighth inning followed by Edwin Diaz in the ninth inning as the closer. Vincent and Nicasio could come in the seventh inning as well especially early in the season. James Pazos and Rzepczynski are the two lefties that will come in anywhere between the sixth and ninth inning; If necessary Pazos can go a couple innings as well.

So this looks like a solid roster long as we don’t see any more injuries to players. Far as the pitching goes I don’t have much confidence in the depth at triple A at this time anyway. So we hope that both Felix and the Big Maple can stay healthy most of the season. Getting at least twenty-five starts out of them both will help the Mariners get into the playoffs. Jerry Dipoto will look to add to the starting pitching in July if they are still in the race. Go M’s.

Spring Training Coming to End

Decisions will start happening on Sunday who makes the squad and who starts opening day. Felix Hernandez gave up one run in three and two-third innings throwing 63 pitches. The only run scored was on a home run to the first batter of the game. Felix wasn’t too concerned because he felt the wind blew the ball out of the ball park. Whether you believe him or not he wants to pitch opening day. A lot on the decision will depend how he feels this morning. If he does go on Thursday night we likely will see James Paxton go about the same amount of pitches as Felix however James Paxton pitches instead I would only see him go an inning or two. It will be like if he was warming up on the sidelines when he pitches between starts.

The Mariners play the San Diego Padres just after noon and then they have a final game on Tuesday. They have Monday off to get ready to go back to Seattle for the season opener. The lineup for Sunday is the same as on Saturday night. Ichiro won’t be in the lineup again. It will be interesting to see whether he will be in the lineup on Tuesday. Guillermo Heredia will start again in left field and batting ninth. The lineup will see today will be the one for most of the season except when Ichiro is in or they give a player a day off. Don’t expect to see them play very long today after a game last night. Dee Gordon leads off in centerfield followed by Jean Segura at shortstop and Robinson Cano at second base. Nelson Cruz will be the designated hitter then Kyle Seager at third base and Ryon Healy at first base. The bottom three of the lineup will be Mitch Haniger in right field, Mike Zunino at catcher and the Heredia in left field.

Wade LeBlanc who the Mariners signed yesterday is in the clubhouse. He is expected to be working out of the bullpen probably as the long reliever. I will let you know what moves the Mariners will make on Sunday. The roster is expected to finalized whether before or after the game. I wouldn’t be surprised is if it is before the game. For those who may have not heard rule 5 player Mike Ford was sent back to the Yankees so likely Daniel Vogelbach be on the team  or starting at first base in Tacoma. I expect Andrew Romine will have the utility role and Taylor Motter optioned to Tacoma. We might hear some surprises as well. I am sure the Mariners will look to bring someone on board to be on the roster in place of David Phelps though Dan Altavilla will probably be in his role. We hope that no other injuries will happen on the Mariners early this season any way. Go M’s.

Felix Final Spring Start

Saturday night Felix Hernandez will be making his final start going into the regular season. This will be his third start of spring. He was hit by a line drive on his right arm back at the end of February against the Chicago Cubs who he will be facing today.

The thought is by Felix and the Mariner coaching staff if he is able to throw seventy pitches effectively today he will be the opening start next Thursday night at Safeco Field. If he isn’t then James Paxton will be the opening day starter. Paxton is expected to throw on Sunday however if Felix isn’t ready to go on opening night then I am sure Paxton will only throw a couple innings or so.

I am sure most fans and the media are not that confident in Felix being the opening night starter. I hope he is because that means that he is healthy to go or otherwise we may see a delay in his starting the season.

In other news Gordon Beckman was released on Friday by the Mariners. He had a good training camp so the idea is that he wants to hook up with another major league team and likely Andrew Romine got the roster spot. More news will come down on Saturday or Sunday what the opening day roster will look like. Also Chris Bergman was sent down to Tacoma so he won’t be on the opening day roster.

I read this morning former Mariner Wade LeBlanc is going to sign with the Mariners after being released by the New York Yankees. He looks to be another candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation.

With the news a couple days ago that David Phelps will be out for the season having Tommy John surgery that we should be hearing soon whether the Mariners will be picking up a veteran to take his spot or not. At this point Dan Altavilla looks to be the guy to pitch where the Mariners intended Phelps to be. Altavilla has had a really good spring so he deserves the shot if the Mariners are not able to pick someone up that is equal or greater than Phelps.

If you haven’t heard Ichiro was hit in the head in a minor league game however he is going to be OK. He could be out a couple days before seeing action again. I wonder how much playing time he will get when the season begins. I would like Guillermo Heredia get a shot to play either regularly or semi-regularly besides starting against lefties only. I guess we will see how that goes. The Mariners feel that Ichiro should be able to play five games a week however I am sure most like me have doubt about that. If he is able to hit .250 at least than I would say so but I still would like to see Heredia play at least three times a week. I am sure Heredia will see action in most games even when he isn’t starting. He may go into the games as a defensive replacement.

Anymore updates I will let you know whether Saturday or Sunday or later on. Go M’s.

One Week Until Opening Day

Here we are down to the last week of spring training with opening day a week from now. Most of the roster already has been answered however bad news did come down on Wednesday when we heard that reliever David Phelps will be lost for the season and he will have to get Tommy John surgery on his elbow. Another one of those pitchers the Mariners have acquired the last couple years that didn’t work out like expected. I am sure everyone remembers Drew Smyly last year in spring training as well being lost for the season and now no longer a member of the Mariners organization.

So the question is who will replace him in the bullpen? Phelps was expected to be one of the top relievers first coming out for relief. He would pitch in either the sixth or seventh inning and he might pitch two innings if necessary. The pitcher I see replacing him that role right now is Dan Altavilla who has had a pretty good spring. He seems to be the logical guy to do so. Most likely he will pitch one inning when called upon however I am sure they may ask him to pitch a couple innings. I guess there are other candidates that the Mariners can throw out in Phelps’s spot however I don’t see anyone so talented or valuable to do so. Nick Vincent and Juan Nicasio are expected to share the eighth inning with Nicasio closing some games when Edwin Diaz is not available.

The only candidate still on the 40 man roster is Chasen Bradford and he hasn’t had a good spring training so what the Mariners brass think about him is questionable. The next reliever up is Ryan Cook who isn’t on the 40 man roster but didn’t fare so well in his last outing. The Mariners did pick up Erik Goeddel from the Texas Rangers on waivers however that isn’t exactly the kind of pitcher the Mariners want to be in the role Phelps was expected to pitch. I know that general manager Jerry Dipoto will look to see who else will be available from other teams however the best answer will be to get someone in a trade like they did for Phelps last year. Though they don’t have many prospects in the farm system I am sure they will have to give up a few.

Felix Hernandez is expected to pitch on Saturday and news came down that James Paxton will pitch on Sunday. Depending how well Felix does on Saturday will determine how far Paxton will go in Sunday’s game. It sounds like if Felix pitches well he will be the opening day starter because Paxton will only have three days of rest. He could only go a couple innings on Sunday if the Mariners don’t feel that Felix can be the opening day starter. I am sure everyone has an opinion who should start on opening day. There will be those who are Felix fans that he should open for the tenth straight year while others believe that Paxton is now the ace of the staff should start instead. Opening day we could consider as an honor but I am not sure it is that important since both Felix and Paxton will start the same amount of games if they stay healthy throughout the season.

With Paxton starting the second game being a left hander it would allow the Mariners to alternate between righties and lefties in the rotation. Mike Leake will likely be the third starter as long as Felix is ready to go and Marco Gonzales being a lefty will be the fourth starter. At this point we are not sure who will be the fifth starter but don’t have to be concerned about that until the middle of April. The main candidates look to be Ariel Miranda who is still on the roster and Rob Whalen who was optioned to Tacoma.

Looks like Mike Zunino is all set to start the season as he hit three home runs Wednesday night game against the Milwaukee Brewers. Actually he went four for four in that game so had a single after the three home runs. He started spring training slowly but now is top shape we just hope it goes into the season. It would be nice if the Mariners can get off to a good start in the season. I am not sure the last time the Mariners had a good April.

So Jerry Dipoto go out and get the best possible pitcher you can find to replace David Phelps. I am not too confident on the guys we have right now. At this point it is more important than getting another starter though I wish that was available as well. We just hope that we don’t get any more bad news about any other players. Go M’s.

Felix Ready to Go?

 

On Monday Felix Hernandez made a start against the triple A team of the San Diego Padres. This was his start in a game since he was hit on his right elbow with a line drive on Feb. 26. Felix went three innings giving up three hits, a run and striking out five batters. Manager Scott Servais liked what he saw of Felix action and he will make one last start in spring training this coming Saturday. If things go well he will be ready to go on opening night. According to Servais Saturday will decide whether Felix pitches on opening night or if it will be James Paxton. For Felix to make the start he will have to throw more than thirty-eight pitches as he did in this out. Not only did Servais like what he said so did Felix. That is half of the battle right there. He believes he is back however we will see. Not sure when Felix will pitch if he isn’t ready to go on opening day. The Mariners do have an off day on Friday the 30th and again on Monday April 2. So they could decide to push him back to one of those days or even a little later. I figure with the off days the Mariners don’t need their fourth starter until game 6. Besides Paxton the Mariners have Mike Leake and Marco Gonzales ready to go.

Paxton threw six innings at the same time as Felix outing going against the Padres double A team. Likely he will pitch again on Saturday as well. He could be pushed to going seven innings.

Mariners roster is getting into shape as Mike Marjama is the backup catcher for them at this point. The Mariners look like they are going to sign reliever Erik Goeddel who The was released by the Texas Rangers. Also a word came out that they made a trade to get starter Ashton Goudeau from the Kansas City Royals; it is likely a minor league deal. Both of these pitchers would probably start the season in triple A and add depth to the organization.

 

On Monday night the Mariners lost to the Los Angeles Angels 8-4. Christian Bergman started the game and went four and one-third innings giving up four runs with one being earned. Also he gave seven hits. He was followed by Chasen Bradford who gave up five hits and four runs in two-thirds of an inning. Whatever chance he had to make the team this game put it out of sight. I am sure his fate will be coming up soon especially with the Mariners signing of Erik Goeddel.

 

Monday’s night game the lineup only included two position player starters in Dee Gordon and Mitch Haniger along with Guillermo Heredia. Taylor Motter and Gordon Beckman still fighting for the utility role with Andrew Romine started at third and second in the game. Mike Ford the rule 5 player is still competing for a roster spot was the designated hitter and he got a couple hits that included a double and driving in a run. Mike Marjama who won the job as the backup catcher got three hits and drove in a run.

The Mariners now have Tuesday off and then play again on Wednesday. It is possible we will see Ichiro, Cruz and Cano back in the lineup along with first baseman Ryon Healy. Mike Leake will start the game for the Mariners. Ariel Miranda will pitch in a minor league game on Tuesday.

 

Mariner Roster Taking Shape

The Seattle Mariners regular season will now be starting in ten days so we will be seeing more players either released, waived or being sent to the minor leagues. The Mariners have said with the beginning of the season they will go with four starting pitchers, eight relievers and thirteen position players. The Mariners won’t need a fifth starter until the middle of April so why they will go with four starters to begin with.

So now a look at who I believe will be the roster on opening day March 29. The Mariners right now have 37 players on the 40 man roster so they have three spots to add non-roster players or sign or trade for a player.

The starting pitching will begin with James Paxton, Felix Hernandez, Mike Leake and Marco Gonzales. It looks like a solid group if Felix can be healthy. Ariel Miranda or Rob Whalen will be the fifth starter when the time is needed. So it looks to be that they both will start the season in Tacoma. Whalen had a rough start on Sunday so we hope that he can recover and pitch the way he did in his previous starts in training camp.

The relief staff looks pretty set going into the season. Edwin Diaz will be the closer with Nick Vincent and Juan Nicasio being the setup men for the eighth inning. Marc  Rzepc-zynski and James Pazos will be lefties out of the bullpen; so the remaining three right handed relievers for the Mariners should be David Phelps, Dan Altavilla and possibly be Casey Lawrence as the long reliever. Lawrence will have to be added onto the forty man roster since he came in as a non-roster invitee. This spot could be changed if the  Mar-iners  decide to pick up another pitcher who currently is on another team.

Now the thirteen position players the Mariners will start the season with. At catcher the starter will be Mike Zunino and his backup will be Mike Marjama. Going with thirteen players the Mariners could start the season with two utility players or two first basemen. Right now I would go with the latter. Ryon Healy and Dan Vogelbach who has had a solid training camp will share first base. This means that the utility player will be Andrew Romine over Taylor Motter. Romine being the veteran and Motter who has options can be sent to Tacoma. With several days off early in the season this makes good sense that Motter can get in regular playing time. The rest of the infield will be Robinson Cano at second, Kyle Seager at third and Jean Segura at shortstop. The outfield we will see Ichiro Suzuki in left, Dee Gordon in center and Mitch Haniger in right field. The fourth outfielder will be Guillermo Heredia who can play all three spots however will see most of his action in left. Ichiro and Heredia likely will start the season platooning in left field. Ichiro will start against righties while Heredia against lefties. This could change depending on how Ichiro performs and how many right handed pitchers they face early in the season. Heredia might see some action against right handers. He doesn’t hit right handers as much as against lefties. Also I would see him coming into games as a defensive replace-ment late in games. At designated hitter we have Nelson Cruz and we could see Vogel-bach there if Cruz isn’t totally healed. There we go with looks to be the opening roster. With general manager Jerry Dipoto on the seen a couple of the spots could change. Go M’s.