Mariners' regulars slated for spring opener

Miranda named starter for annual charity game with Padres

Mariners' regulars slated for spring opener

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Sure, there are still more than five weeks until Opening Day and a lot of things can happen, but Mariners manager Scott Servais will roll out a lineup for Saturday's Cactus League opener against the Padres that figures to look much like the team Seattle fans will see most days this year.

"It'll be our Day One lineup," Servais said Friday as the Mariners finalized plans for their annual charity game against the Padres, which starts at 12:10 p.m. PT at Peoria Stadium. "Guys are ready to play."

Servais said he'll go with a lineup of: Jarrod Dyson LF, Jean Segura SS, Robinson Cano 2B, Nelson Cruz DH, Kyle Seager 3B, Mitch Haniger RF, Daniel Vogelbach 1B, Mike Zunino C and Leonys Martin CF.

The only thing missing is Opening Day starter Felix Hernandez, who will make his spring debut on Tuesday against the White Sox in Glendale. Left-hander Ariel Miranda starts the opener against the Padres.

Miranda enters camp as Seattle's sixth starter, likely to fill in if anything happens to anyone in the projected rotation. If not, he's ticketed to start the season in the bullpen.

"I feel really good, really prepared mentally and physically," Miranda said through interpreter Fernando Alcala. "All that's left to do is go out and do the job."

Miranda is vital to Mariners

San Diego will counter with 29-year-old right-hander Paul Clemens, who was 4-5 with a 4.04 ERA in 18 outings for the Marlins and Padres last year and is one of a big group competing for starting roles in his camp.

Miranda figures to throw two innings, followed by Ryan Weber, Cody Martin, James Pazos, Shae Simmons and Casey Fien.

While the game is just the first of 36 Cactus League contests for Seattle, Servais said there's some increased intensity among his six Major Leaguers who are ticketed for World Baseball Classic duties: Cano, Cruz, Edwin Diaz, Yovani Gallardo, Drew Smyly and Hernandez.

Gallardo, Hernandez and Smyly will start Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week, while Cano and Cruz are ticketed for more at-bats than they'd normally get this early in spring.

"They just want to get some timing down and make sure they feel good at the plate," Servais said. "You will see those guys play a little more than every other day going forward."

The WBC 2017 group -- which also includes non-roster camp invitees Tyler O'Neill, Pat Venditte and Sebastian Valle -- will join their national teams during the first week of March and return to the Mariners once their squads are eliminated. The tournament runs through March 22, and Cano and Cruz could be competing right to the end with the defending champion Dominican Republic team.

Saturday's Cactus League game will be broadcast on radio only. The first televised Mariners game is March 5 against the A's.

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.