Cruz to sit out spring opener due to sore knee

Moyer arrives at camp to work with pitchers

Cruz to sit out spring opener due to sore knee

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Mariners will open Cactus League play on Wednesday against the Padres with one notable absence, as designated hitter and right fielder Nelson Cruz will be sidelined temporarily due to a sore left knee.

The 12:10 p.m. PT game at Peoria Stadium will not be televised, but it will be streamed live on Gameday Audio.

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Cruz, who finished second in the Majors last year with 44 home runs, has been kept out of extra running and outfield work due to soreness in his legs, but both he and manager Scott Servais said it's a minor problem that should clear up in another day or two.

"I don't know exactly what it was," Cruz said. "I was working out and my calf started getting tight, and then next thing I know, my knee was bugging me a little bit. It was good for the last three weeks, but the first day I came here I felt it a little bit."

Servais said the Mariners will just take it "a little slow" with Cruz, but Servais expects him in the lineup later in the week.

"He'd been working out in Dominican, running more on turf than grass," Servais said. "When he got out here, the softness of the grass will sometimes flare up a few things. But I don't see it as any issue."

Servais said his first lineup will be otherwise reflective of what the Mariners were thinking about when they put together their roster this offseason and starters will likely get two at-bats.

The opening lineup: Nori Aoki LF, Kyle Seager 3B, Robinson Cano 2B, Franklin Gutierrez DH, Adam Lind 1B, Seth Smith RF, Chris Iannetta C, Ketel Marte SS, Leonys Martin CF. Scheduled to come off the bench first are Daniel Robertson LF, Ed Lucas 3B, Chris Taylor 2B, Jesus Montero DH, Gaby Sanchez 1B, Stefen Romero RF, Mike Zunino C, Luis Sardinas SS, Boog Powell CF.

Starting pitcher James Paxton figures to go about two innings, or 35-40 pitches, as he takes his first step in the competition for a rotation berth after pitching just 13 games each of the last two seasons due to injuries.

"He's excited," Servais said of Paxton. "Obviously he's in great shape, he's worked his tail off this winter, and hopefully he'll put the injury stuff behind him. I'm anxious to see him out there."

Also scheduled to pitch out of the bullpen are lefty Vidal Nuno and right-handers Jonathan Aro, Ryan Cook, Joel Peralta, Donn Roach and Tony Zych.

Servais said he won't worry about left-right matchups in the first week of Cactus League games when opposing starters are only throwing an inning or two, but he will begin working more on platoon situations after that.

Worth noting
Felix Hernandez threw his second bullpen session of the spring on Tuesday without any problems, and he will next advance to live batting practice as he gears up his throwing schedule. Hisashi Iwakuma and Danny Hultzen are one step ahead of him, as they threw their first live batting-practice sessions Tuesday.

Most of the other pitchers are done with live BP and ready for game action, though Cody Martin and Casey Coleman both threw bullpens on Tuesday and David Rollins, Mayckol Guaipe and Adrian Sampson tossed live BP.

• Jamie Moyer, who holds the Mariners record for career wins with 145 (two ahead of Hernandez), arrived at camp and immediately went to work offering his insights and working on the field with Seattle's pitchers. He'll be in camp for the rest of the week. And for those looking for a throwback, the sight of Moyer and Mariners catching coordinator Dan Wilson walking across the field talking to each other was a golden moment indeed.

• Left-hander Mike Montgomery will be sidelined several days after having a cyst surgically removed from his neck.

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.