The decision is not quite set in stone - it will be later today - but the Seattle Mariners may flip-flop ace Felix Hernandez and lefty Jason Vargas for the upcoming regular season games in Oakland this weekend.
Why? Several reasons, including this: If Felix pitches in a Cactus League game tomorrow, his start in Oakland on Saturday would be in rotation, and the Mariners want to get Felix at least one start the final days here in Arizona.
If Vargas started tomorrow, Felix wouldn't have time to make a start and still pitch in Oakland.
Oh, and one other factor: If Hernandez starts on Saturday vs. the Athletics, the Mariners would stay in rotation for four games in Texas - and Felix would start the April13th home opener at Safeco Field.
Pitching coach Carl Willis said that's not a factor with his planning, and you can believe him. He's not about to mess with his ace just for one game. Still, he acknowledged:
"I'd be pretty popular with our marketing folks if that's the way it works out."