Look for Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano to test his recovery from a broken toe by playing in a handful of games in winter ball before arriving in February to begin spring training.
General manager Jack Zduriencik confirmed Cano sought, and received, the club’s permission to participate “in a limited amount of games” for Estrellas de Oriente in the Dominican Winter League. He is expected to serve primarily as a designated hitter.
“Robinson has reported to us his broken right pinkie toe is fully healed,” Zduriencik said, “and (he) wants to get on a baseball field to test it before reporting for spring training.
“We look forward to Robinson reporting to Peoria in a little over a month ready to go for the 2015 season.”
Cano suffered a broken small toe on Nov. 15 when hit by a pitch while playing for a touring team of Major League players against Japan’s national team in Tokyo.
It was diagnosed as a non-displaced fracture that was expected to require one month to heal.
The Mariners open spring training for the 2015 season on Feb. 20 at their year-round complex in Peoria, Ariz. The first full-squad workout is Feb. 25.
Cano, 32, batted .314 last season with 14 homers and 82 RBIs in 157 games for the Mariners in his first season after signing a 10-year deal as a free agent for $240 million.
Outfielder Alex Jackson and infielder D.J. Peterson rank one-two in the latest ranking of prospects in the Mariners’ system by John Sickels of sbnation.com.
Sickels publishes his rankings and scouting reports for the Top 20 prospects in all organizations in his annual Baseball Prospect Handbook. A truncated version of his rankings for the Mariners’ system is online.
Jackson and Peterson were the organization’s top draft picks in 2014 and 2103 and each received a B-plus grade.
Regarding Jackson: “Almost everyone loves Jackson’s bat and projects that he will hit for both power and average, though of course we need to see exactly what shape his production takes.
“If he hits as anticipated he can move into the A-territory next year.”
Regarding Peterson: “Draws praise for huge power, but mixed opinions on pure hitting skills. Not very good defensively at third base and likely ends up at first in the long run.”
The rest of Sickels’ top five: right-handed pitcher Edwin Diaz, outfielder Austin Wilson and outfielder Gabby Guerrero.