When the Arizona Fall League camps open in mid-September, the Mariners will send seven players – from first-round draft pick Danny Hultzen to minor league shortstop Nick Franklin – to participate.
For Hultzen, the left-handed pitcher taken with the second overall pick in the June draft, it will be his first experience pitching professionally.
For most of the others, it will be a higher caliber of competition than they’ve faced before.
One player for whom that will not be the case is catcher Adam Moore, who lost the 2011 season in Seattle to a knee injury.
The Mariners will play with the Peoria Javelinas, with the season beginning in early October.
The full contingent of Seattle players: Hultzen, Moore, Franklin, left-hander Brian Moran, right-handers Forrrest Snow and Steven Hensley, and outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang.
COMING IN WAVES
When the Mariners begin September call ups, they’ll come in two main waves – some Thursday, when rosters expand, and others not until the minor league season ends.
On a roster already crowded with players and pitchers manager Eric Wedge is trying to find playing time for, the 12 rookies already here will be joined by veterans and another youngster or two.
Four players will be coming off the disabled list: Justin Smoak, Jack Wilson, Chone Figgins and reliever Dan Cortes.
Another reliever, Shawn Kelley, will likely be brought up from Tacoma to get his first major league work since undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery last year.
There’s been speculation, too, that third baseman Alex Liddi will be up.
Will they all play?
“It’ll just be more of a traffic jam than it is already,” Wedge said.
Figgins, for one, remains a week or so away from returning to the Seattle roster. He’s been running, throwing and hitting with the team this week, recovering from a strained hip flexor, but is almost certain to join Tacoma for its final series of the Rainiers’ season.
That runs Friday through Monday.
PLANS FOR PINEDA
Pitching coach Carl Willis has finished his plans for the September rotation and the biggest change is this – rookie Michael Pineda will start three more times, then shut it down for the season.
In 25 starts, Pineda has pitched 153 innings, so three starts at six innings each would get him to the Mariners target of a out 170 innings.
“We looked at what he’s done in his career prior to this year, where he’s at this season and what we want him to be next year,” Wedge said.
Pineda pitched 139j innings last year in the minor leagues.
When Tom Wilhelmsen was credited with his second win Monday, it was the 19th victory by a Mariners rookie pitcher this season – the most in major league baseball. It’s the most by a Seattle team since 1999, when Freddy Garcia, John Halama and Gil Meche combined for 34 wins. ... Brandon League’s 32 saves would have led the team in 25 of its first 34 seasons.
Seattle hosts the Angels in a 7:10 p.m. game that will be televised on Root Sports. Probable starting pitchers: Los Angeles’ Dan Haren (13-7, 3.19 ERA) against Felix Hernandez (12-11, 3.37).