Mariners hope Martin arrives soon

Mariners hope Martin arrives soon

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Center fielder Leonys Martin, who has been excused from the start of Mariners camp for personal reasons, could rejoin the team as soon as Wednesday, according to manager Scott Servais.

The Mariners have had no comment on Martin's absence, other than saying he's taking care of some personal business. But the 28-year-old testified on Tuesday in a trial that is underway in Miami for agent Bartolo Hernandez and trainer Julio Estrada, who are accused of conspiracy and running a smuggling operation that brought a dozen Cuban players to America, including Martin.

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Servais would only say that he has no firm idea on Martin's arrival time.

"I do not. There's a tentative plan, if everything goes good at home today, he could be in the air tonight and be here tomorrow," Servais said Tuesday. "But we'll see. That's not definite."

What Servais will acknowledge is that he'd like to have Martin in camp as soon as possible. Martin is the lone returning starter in the outfield and fills a big role both on and off the field.

"We need Leonys in here," Servais said. "We miss him. We miss his personality in the clubhouse. You'll hear him when he gets here, I'm sure."

Take it live

A dozen of the Mariners pitchers threw their first round of live batting practice Tuesday, though most hitters merely tracked pitches and didn't take many swings. That's the typical process for the first day of live BP, with hitters looking to get their timing down.

"It's pitching practice, it's not batting practice," Servais said. "That's the way I always looked at it as a player. If guys want to take a few swings, great. But they can track the ball and see the ball out of the pitcher's hand.

"It's really great for the pitchers. They get to get on the mound, and they are out of bullpens. It's good. Take the next step and get them ready. Each guy I think will get two live BPs. Some will only have one before they get into games, but we'll get that process going today."

Miranda is vital to Mariners

Ariel Miranda was among the group throwing Tuesday, but most of the bigger-name pitchers are in the second group that will throw live BP on Wednesday, including all five projected starters as well as closer Edwin Diaz.

Worth noting

• The tentative pitching plans to start Cactus League games calls for Miranda to throw Saturday's opener against the Padres. Chris Heston will start Sunday's game against the Padres, followed by Yovani Gallardo on Monday against the Royals and Felix Hernandez in Tuesday's road opener against the White Sox in Glendale.

• After working at first base on Monday, new infielder Danny Valencia was splitting time with Kyle Seager at third base during Tuesday's work. Valencia has played most of his career at third, but clearly will be looking elsewhere for playing time with Seager handling the hot corner.

Cano, Cruz, Seager take BP

"He'll probably be mostly at first throughout the spring," Servais said. "He will play a day or two at third and get some time in the outfield, but we want to get him comfortable there at first."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.