PEORIA, Ariz. — Left-hander Ariel Miranda, who appears likely to open the season in the bullpen, is the Mariners’ tentative choice to start Saturday against San Diego in the Cactus League opener at Peoria Stadium.
Miranda, 28, made 10 starts in 11 outings last season after the Mariners acquired him from Baltimore in a July 31 trade, but offseason moves that netted Drew Smyly and Yovani Gallardo nudged Miranda out of the projected rotation.
Manager Scott Servais said earlier in the week that Miranda would be stretched out as a starter for early spring games in order to serve as a hedge against an injury to a starting pitcher.
"We hope we get through camp without any injuries or hiccups," Servais said. "If there is one, I hope he’s throwing well enough that he could step in and do that."
Servais confirmed the tentative starting pitchers for the first four spring games.
Right-hander Chris Heston, 28, will start Sunday’s game against the Padres, and Gallardo is ticketed for Monday against Kansas City. Both of those games are also at Peoria Stadium.
Plans call for Felix Hernandez to make his spring debut Tuesday against the Chicago White in Glendale.
The Mariners obtained Heston on Dec. 7 for a player to be named later. He missed much of last season because of a severe oblique injury after going 12-11 with a 3.95 ERA in 31 starts for the Giants in 2015.
The three games at Peoria Stadium start at 12:10 p.m. Pacific time, while Tuesday’s game against the White Sox starts at 12:05 p.m. All four will be carried on 710 ESPN, but none of the game are televised.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners