PEORIA, Ariz. — The final tweaks to the Mariners’ roster won’t likely be official (or announced) until Sunday morning but, barring a late injury, their 25-man unit is set.
Manager Scott Servais continued notifying players Friday regarding their anticipated status to avoid the spectacle of somebody being all packed up Saturday — and then learning they wouldn’t be traveling with the club to Texas.
"We’ve met with our pitchers," Servais confirmed. "Those guys have to know where they’re at. A couple of guys are still in this camp as non-roster guys. We still need a little pitching help to get through the last couple of games.
"I’ll meet with the last couple of position players (at some point Friday)."
There are no real surprises.
The Mariners entered Friday’s game with 32 active players on their camp roster and will close their 33-game Cactus League schedule on Saturday against Colorado in Scottsdale. They head for Texas after the game for Monday’s season opener.
Major League Baseball doesn’t require clubs to set their 25-man rosters until 9 a.m. Pacific time Sunday, and the Mariners will likely wait until the deadline before making an official decision on a backup catcher.
Steve Clevenger and Rob Brantly are both out of options, All signs point to Clevenger winning the job. If so, that means Brantly must clear waivers before he can be sent to the minor leagues. (The same would be true with Clevenger.)
Waiting until the deadline maximizes the likelihood of clearing waivers for any player. (Toronto is expected to try that approach with first baseman Jesus Montero, whom it acquired Monday from the Mariners in a waiver claim.)
The waiver system permits any club to claim the player under the terms of his contract. For a player who is out of options, that means keeping him on the active 25-man roster.
If more than one club submits a claim, the club with the poorer 2015 record gets the player.
The Mariners are expected to place relievers Charlie Furbush and Evan Scribner on the 15-day disabled list. Catcher Jesus Sucre and reliever Ryan Cook have already been placed on the 60-day disabled list.
Four players are expected to be reassigned to minor-league camp and join Triple-A Tacoma: first baseman/outfielder Evan Navarro, outfielder Daniel Robertson and pitchers Donn Roach and Blake Parker.
That would get the Mariners down to 25 players (primary position noted):
Rotation (5): RHP Felix Hernandez, RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, LHP Wade Miley, RHP Taijuan Walker and RHP Nathan Karns.
Bullpen (7): RHP Steve Cishek (closer), RHP Joaquin Benoit, RHP Tony Zych, RHP Joel Peralta, RHP Nick Vincent, LHP Vidal Nuno and LHP Mike Montgomery.
Catchers (2): Chris Iannetta and Steve Clevenger.
Infielders (6): 1B Adam Lind, 1B Dae-Ho Lee, 2B Robinson Cano, SS Ketel Marte, 3B Kyle Seager and UTL Luis Sardinas.
Outfielders (5): LF Nori Aoki, CF Leonys Martin, RF Seth Smith, RF Franklin Gutierrez and DH Nelson Cruz.
Center fielder Leonys Martin was expected to rejoin the club late Saturday after missing a few days to attend the birth of his son in Miami.
"Everyone is great," Servais said. "Everyone came through (fine). He’s something else. I probably got four calls from him (on Thursday). `Skip, I don’t know if I’m going to make it for the game.’
"`It’s OK, Leonys. We’ve got you covered.’ He was excited."
Look for utilityman Luis Sardinas to play just about everywhere on the diamond in the upcoming season.
"I’m pretty comfortable to play him anywhere other than pitch and catch," Servais said. "He handles it. He’s got a really good internal clock. He doesn’t get fazed by too much.
"For a young player, the questions he asks, and how he looks at the game, is really unique. He is into the game. He’s a student of the game.
"Making sure he’s in the right spot and throwing to the right base. Should he be taking a pitch? Is that a good pitch to steal on? Always asking those kinds of questions because he wants to continue to learn."
Servais was the senior director for player development — what used to be called the farm director — in Texas when the Rangers signed Sardinas, a Venezuelan, as a 16-year-old in 2009.
"He’s still a very young player," Servais said. "This is his age 23 year-old season. He’s really impressed me with his mental capacity and the questions he’s asked.
The Mariners acquired Sardinas, a switch-hitter, from Milwaukee in a Nov 15, 2015 trade for outfielder Ramon Flores.
Outfielder Alex Jackson, the organization’s top prospect, will open the season in extended spring training as the Mariners seek to reboot his career after a disappointing first full pro season.
Jackson, 20, was the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft but batted just .207 last season while splitting 76 games at Lo-A Clinton (28) and Short-A Everett (48). He had eight homers and 38 RBIs in 318 plate appearances.
Despite his struggles, Jackson remained No. 1 on the TNT Top 10 list of the organization’s prospects. Plans call for Jackson to return this summer to Everett with the goal of progressing later in the season to Clinton.
The Mariners released two minor-league players earlier this week who once played for the Cuban national team before defecting from their country.
Left-handed pitcher Misael Siverio, 26, was 5-12 with a 4.35 ERA last season in 26 starts at Double-A Jackson. He defected in 2013 before signing with the Mariners on Nov. 9, 2014.
Infielder Dayner Moriera, 31, signed with the Mariners on Jan. 28 after defecting after the 2015 Caribbean World Series.
It was five years ago Saturday — April 2, 2011 — the Ichiro Suzuki became the Mariners’ all-time hits leader when he got No. 2, 248 on an infield single in the ninth inning that drove in the winning run in a 5-2 victory at Oakland.
Suzuki passed current hitting coach Edgar Martinez, who collected 2,247 in an 18-year career from 1987-2004. Suzuki pushed his total to 2,533 before a July 23, 2012 trade sent him to the New York Yankees. He remains the franchise leader.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners