Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager is joining with a former college teammate in supporting efforts to fight childhood cancer through the Vs. Cancer Foundation.
Fans are asked to pledge a specific donation for each hit that Seager gets in the upcoming season. Seager and his wife, Julie, will match the amount of the first 100 pledges.
Donations can be made through www.seagervscancer.org.
“I don’t have social media so I don’t realize how fast word gets out,” Seager said. “I knew it was launching (Tuesday). I went on the website, and it already had some donations.
“It’s awesome what kind of fans there are in Seattle, who not only support the Mariners but support something like this.”
Seager was drawn to the program by former North Carolina teammate Chase Jones, who was diagnosed with brain cancer at age 18.
“It’s a phenomenal thing,” Seager said. “It’s something that’s very near and dear and close to our hearts. My wife and I have known Chase for a long time.
“To go from him being your teammate to seeing him in the hospital, going through all of that stuff, is eye-opening. You hear his story one time, and you understand how real it is.”
Right-hander Taijuan Walker is scheduled for two innings Wednesday in the Mariners’ spring opener against complex co-tenant San Diego at renovated Peoria Stadium.
Also scheduled to pitch: Sam Gaviglio, Mike Kickham, David Rollins, Rafael Perez, Carson Smith and Dominic Leone.
San Diego lists left-hander Jason Lane as its starter for Wednesday’s game.
Rollins and Perez are among the candidates for duty as the bullpen’s second left-handed reliever alongside Charlie Furbush. Smith and Leone are also battling for spots in the bullpen.
Gaviglio and Kickham are expected to open the season in the minors.
Manager Lloyd McClendon previously announced probable starters for the first six games. Roenis Elias will start Thursday against the Padres, who are planning to start right-hander Andrew Cashner. Elias will be followed by Erasmo Ramirez on Friday against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Glendale, Arizona.
Hisashi Iwakuma and Jordan Pries are ticketed for Saturday’s split-squad doubleheader: Iwakuma against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Peoria; Pries against the Chicago White Sox in Glendale.
J.A. Happ is scheduled to start Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds in Goodyear, Arizona.
SPRING TV COVERAGE
Root Sports will televise the Mariners’ spring opener against San Diego at 12:05 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday as part of its 16-game Cactus League package.
Root will also rebroadcast the game at 3:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.
The Mariners continue their 32-game spring schedule at 12:05 p.m. Thursday with another game against the Padres at Peoria Stadium. Root Sports will also televise that game, as well as Saturday’s game against the Diamondbacks in Peoria.
ANOTHER HULTZEN HURDLE
Lefty Danny Hultzen took the next step in his comeback from major shoulder surgery when he threw live batting practice Tuesday for the first time this spring.
“It was good to get loose,” he said. “I haven’t had that for a while. I hadn’t been out there since last September against hitters. It’s just another step moving forward. I was really happy with it.”
Hultzen, 25, missed much of 2013 because of a sore shoulder before undergoing surgery Oct. 1 to repair his labrum and a partial tear of his rotator cuff. He then spent all of last year rehabilitating the injury.
“My arm felt great,” he said after a 28-pitch session. “My breaking stuff wasn’t very good today, but that’s just another battle that everyone faces. Other than that, it felt awesome.”
This is a bigger Hultzen than the pre-injury version. He is pushing 220 pounds which, he said, is 10-15 pounds heavier than he has weighed in the past.
“If you’re not out there pitching,” he said, “you have more time to work out. That’s how I spent a lot of my time. I put on some good weight and feel really strong.”
The next hurdle is pitching in a Cactus League game.
“I’m ready,” he said. “I don’t know what the plan is, but I’m feeling great.”
Fans still have the chance to purchase single-game tickets before sales start to the general public by signing up through Wednesday as a registered user on Mariners Mail at www.mariners.com/register.
Registered users can begin purchasing single-game tickets at 10 a.m. Friday. Sales to the general public start at 10 a.m. Saturday. Season ticket holders had the opportunity to buy such tickets as of noon on Tuesday.
Tickets are available without a service charge at Safeco Field or at Mariners Team Stores. Service charges apply to purchases through mariners.com, by phone or through Ticketmaster.