No fooling around. The Mariners plan to use their primary lineup Saturday when they open their 36-game Cactus League schedule at 12:10 p.m. Pacific time against complex co-tenant San Diego at Peoria Stadium.
1. Jarrod Dyson, left field
2. Jean Segura, shortstop
3. Robinson Cano, second base
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4. Nelson Cruz, designated hitter
5. Kyle Seager, third base
6. Mitch Haniger, right field
7. Dan Vogelbach, first base
8. Mike Zunino, catcher
9. Leonys Martin, center field
"It will be our Day One lineup," manager Scott Servais said. "Guys are ready to play. Cano and Cruz, I’ve talked to them about how much they want to play before they go (to join the Dominican Republic for the World Baseball Classic).
"They will play a little more than normal before they head off to the WBC. They want to get some timing down and make sure they feel good at the plate. You will see those guys play more than just every other day."
Lefty Ariel Miranda, a likely bullpen candidate, will start the spring opener and will be followed by right-handers Cody Martin and Ryan Weber. All three are tentatively scheduled for two innings.
The Padres, who are the home team, plan to start right-hander Paul Clemens and then use right-hander Cesar Vargas. The game can be heard on 710 ESPN but will not be televised.
The Mariners and Padres play again at 12:10 p.m. Pacific time Sunday with the Mariners serving as the home team. Right-hander Chris Heston is expected to start and be followed by lefty Dillon Overton and right-hander Christian Bergman.
San Diego plans to start right-hander Zach Lee, who was 0-9 with a 7.39 ERA in 14 starts last season at Triple-A Tacoma after being acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in a June 19 trade for infielder Chris Taylor.
Sunday’s game will also be carried at 710 ESPN but will not be televised. The Mariners’ first televised game on Root Sports Northwest will be March 5 against Oakland at Peoria Stadium.
Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, who benefited a year ago from a club-leading amount of run support, will underwrite the cost of dinner for Cano’s winning team in Friday’s situational-hitting game.
"Kuma is taking the winning team out for sushi or Japanese food," Servais confirmed. "He will pay for the whole team this year. Felix (Hernandez) volunteered him."
Iwakuma received 120 runs of support in his 33 starts. His run-support average (runs per nine innings that he pitched) was 5.43, which was the most among any Mariners pitcher who made at least 19 starts.
The RSA for other pitchers: James Paxton 5.36; Hernandez 5.11; Wade Miley 5.06; and Taijuan Walker 4.15.
Cano’s team beat Cruz’s team on the final play in the situational-hitting game when Vogelbach was called safe on a disputed play at the plate.
The Mariners climbed to 23rd in the annual minor-league talent rankings released Friday by Baseball America. They were 28th a year ago and haven't been higher than 24th since ranking second prior to the 2013 season.
"General manager Jerry Dipoto has been as busy as any front-office executive," the magazine noted, "turning over much of the team’s 40-man roster and using prospects acquired under the previous administration, such as 2014 first-rounder Alex Jackson, as trade pieces."
Baseball America identified outfielder Brayan Hernandez as the organization’s "high-ceiling sleeper" and right-handed reliever Thyago Vieira as its "breakout candidate."
Atlanta tops the rankings, followed by the New York Yankees, Houston, Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox. Miami ranks 30th, just ahead of the Los Angeles Angels and Arizona.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners