The Seattle Mariners major league camp is the half-way mark of spring training. The pitchers and catchers reported on February 11 while the position did on February 15. The Mariners will have their first game an exhibition against Yomiuri Giants on March 16 evening time in Seattle and then early morning on March 18. The two regular games against the Oakland A’s will take place on March 20 and 21 at 2:35 am Seattle time. The Mariners will fly to Seattle to take on the Boston Red Sox on March 28.
Scott Servais hasn’t named his opening starting as of yet however, it likely will be left-hander Marco Gonzales. He will probably be followed by right-hander Mike Leake then Japanese lefty Yusei Kikuchi. Felix Hernandez and Wade LeBlanc. Marco Gonzales does start the opener in Japan he likely will again in the opening in Seattle as well. Wade LeBlanc will probably start in the bullpen then make his opening start against the Los Angels Angels on Monday, April 1 at T-Mobile Park.
Kikuchi and Felix Hernandez might start the two exhibition games in Tokyo. Gonzales will make his third start if he does pitch both openers on April 2. The Mariners have April 3 and 5th as days off. They have their first road trip to Chicago to face the White Sox. They face Chicago on April 4 on their home opener followed on Saturday, April 6 and Sunday the 7th. The Mariners will face the Kansas City Royals in four games before returning home on April 12 against the Houston Astros. It will be interesting to see how the starting rotation works out.
Shed Long who the Mariners picked up from the New York Yankees via Cincinnati will be starting today against the Cleveland Indians in a spring training game in Good Year Arizona. He has had an outstanding spring so far. He likely will start the season triple-A Tacoma though. Whoever begins the season as the Mariners utility player they will have to do a good job to be sure he doesn’t replace them. The main utility candidates outside of Long are Dylan Moore who is starting at third base today and Kristopher Negron. Both have an edge on Long because of experience and both can play shortstop. A utility player who can play shortstop defensively is what Dipoto and Service are looking for.
Ichiro will be playing in his familiar spot of right field today. Outside of playing in Japan, the odds are against Ichiro being on the opening roster when the Mariners return to Seattle to face the Boston Red Sox. His best shot would be if Mallex Smith isn’t ready to go however he is expected to throw this week along with taking batting practice. Veteran Jay Bruce is expected to be the extra outfielder plus playing some first base and designated hitter.
We will see in the next couple of weeks what moves the Mariners make. This will be true for the bullpen, backup catcher and Edwin Encarnacion whether he will stick to be the primary dh or traded to another team.