PEORIA, Ariz. – Cactus League rules require that teams have four regular-season starters in their exhibition lineups, a law usually but not always followed – and on Saturday, the Seattle Mariners didn’t even try.
“We knew well in advance we weren’t going to play anyone who traveled to Japan,” manager Eric Wedge said. “We wanted to get the guys on the field today, get them moving, have them work a little and then get another good night of sleep.”
Veteran pitcher Kevin Millwood and nine minor league players started the game, but that was more about getting the Mariners rested and back on track as Seattle puts together it’s next 25-man roster.
Changes are coming.
“Start with having to get Hector Noesi, Hisashi Iwakuma and Kevin Millwood on the roster,” Wedge said.
That means three players must go. Those on the bubble are pitchers Charlie Furbush, Lucas Luetge and Steve Delabar, infielder Alex Liddi and outfielder Carlos Peguero
Peguero and Liddi are reserves, all three pitchers are relievers, so it may come down to which players are likely to get the most immediate work.
Meanwhile, Wedge posted a never-before-seen lineup entirely made up of minor league players:
Denny Almonte CF; Daniel Carroll LF; Brad Miller SS; Rich Poythress 1B; Stefen Romero 2B; Mario Martinez 3B; Joe Dunigan DH; Jesus Sucre C; James Jones RF.
Wedge will field a more normal spring lineup today.
• Outfielder Mike Carp (sprained shoulder) was in camp riding the stationary bicycle but wasn’t allowed on the field even for stretching. “If everything works out, I’ll be back in time for the (April 13) home opener,” Carp said. An MRI showed no major damage.
• Catcher Adam Moore has recovered from the broken bone in his right wrist and played five innings in a minor league game Friday. On the disabled list retroactive to before Seattle left for Japan, Moore cannot play in Cactus League games and will travel with Tacoma when minor league camp ends Monday.
• Outfielder Franklin Gutierrez threw against a wall Friday and Saturday and has been swinging the bat for more than a week. He’s still a ways from playing but said the next step in his recovery from a partially torn pectoral muscle will come “when I have three or four good days in a row.”
Kevin Millwood struck out eight in seven solid innings, leading the mostly minor league Mariners to a 6-1 win over a Padres split squad. The trip took it’s toll on two Mariners who reported to camp Saturday and were sent home: coach Robby Thompson and second baseman Dustin Ackley had flu-like symptoms. Each is day-to-day. Retired catcher Dan Wilson is in camp working with the broadcast team the next three days. During a subdued batting practice, shortstop Brendan Ryan approached the fans behind the backstop and asked “How you doing?” When a group of them answered “Great!,” Ryan shook his head, smiled and said “Better than me, then.” Former Mariners reliever Brian Sweeney was signed as a minor league free agent by Seattle in January and was in the bullpen Saturday night.
Seattle hosts Kansas City at 1 p.m. today that will be televised on Root Sports. Probable starting pitchers: Bruce Chen vs. Blake Beavan.