Cruz among Mariners to appear at FanFest Jan. 24-25

Happ, Zunino, Jackson, Paxton also slated to attend event at Safeco

Cruz among Mariners to appear at FanFest Jan. 24-25

SEATTLE -- New slugger Nelson Cruz will highlight the lineup for the 17th annual Mariners FanFest on Jan. 24-25, the club announced Wednesday.

Cruz, who led the Majors in home runs with 40 last year for the Orioles, signed a four-year, $57 million free-agent contract with Seattle last month. He'll be joined by fellow newcomer J.A. Happ as well as a number of returning Mariners and top prospects in the organization for the two-day event at Safeco Field.

Catcher Mike Zunino, center fielder Austin Jackson, starting pitchers James Paxton and Taijuan Walker and relievers Tom Wilhelmsen and Charlie Furbush are returning players expected to take part, along with Cruz and Happ, a left-hander acquired by trade from Toronto.

Cruz's first day in Seattle

Also scheduled to appear are four of the Mariners' top Minor League prospects: outfielder Alex Jackson, infielders D.J. Peterson and Patrick Kivlehan and catcher John Hicks.

General manager Jack Zduriencik and manager Lloyd McClendon will also take part both days, as will Mariners Hall of Fame catcher Dan Wilson. Fellow Mariners Hall of Famer Jay Buhner is scheduled to appear on Sunday.

FanFest will be open to the general public both days from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT, while there will also be an exclusive season-ticket holders session from 9-11 a.m. on the first day, Jan. 24.

Tickets go on sale Thursday at 10 a.m. PT at mariners.com and at Mariners Team Stores. Kids 14 and younger are free, while adults are $10. Season-ticket holders should contact their account representative for details on the early access.

Safeco Field Events

Parking at the Safeco Field garage is $5 in advance and $10 drive up.

The event includes free autograph sessions with the players and dugout dialogue question-and-answer sessions with all the participants, along with the chance to run the bases, tour the Mariners' clubhouse, throw a pitch in the bullpen, ride a zip line over Safeco Field and play carnival games in the Kids Fun Zone.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.