Cano, Ichiro back in lineup; Felix Hernandez on track for Opening Day

posted by Curtis Crabtree -

Seattle Mariners v San Francisco Giants

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Robinson Cano, Ichiro Suzuki, Ryon Healy and Andrew Romine are all in the lineup for the Mariners against the Milwaukee Brewers Wednesday night.

While Healy had appeared in a pair of games earlier this week, Cano (hamstring), Suzuki (calf) and Romine (shoulder) had all been sidelined at least a week due to various ailments.

"I would like to (play them a lot)," manager Scott Servais said. "I want to be smart, too, with Robbie. Want to make sure he's ready when the bell rings, don't want to overdo it there. Healy will continue to ramp it up. Robbie and Jean... hoping Robbie gets through tonight and he'll play second base tomorrow. ... We'll see how Ichiro comes out of tonight.

"I would like to play these guys back-to-back or three days in a row."

Nelson Cruz was initially expected to play as well but we'll be given one more day to rest. Cano will get the designated hitter at-bats against Milwaukee with Cruz returning to the spot on Thursday against Texas.

Jean Segura won't play tonight either as he's dealing with a sprained thumb that has been bothering him the last few days.

"On the pop up the other day at the end of Marco Gonzales' game, it was a tough one, it was in the sun," Servais said. "He caught it off-balance but to break his fall put his hand down. He's been a little sore. He'll be out taking ground balls and he'll throw. We're just going to give him a day or two to kind of let that calm down. Hopefully he'll be OK here by the weekend."

Servais wouldn't declare an Opening Day starter just yet, but all indications point toward Felix Hernandez getting the ball next Thursday night against the Cleveland Indians.

Hernandez is scheduled to make his final start of spring on Saturday against the Chicago Cubs. That would give him a normal five days of rest before Thursday's opener. James Paxton - the only other logical option for Opening Day - will pitch Sunday against the San Diego Padres.

"We still haven't made a decision on it yet," Servais said. "It really depends on where he's at and how he comes out of it. If he does need one more, we'll give him one more. But we want to give him every opportunity to make the Opening Day start if it's good and he's able to hit the benchmarks we have out there. So we'll see what happens on Saturday."

If Hernandez was to struggle in his outing, the team could shorten Paxton's outing on Sunday and put him in line to make the start instead. However, Hernandez is the one in line to make the start should everything go according to plan.

Mike Leake is pitching against the Brewers. Marco Gonzales is scheduled to throw Thursday against Texas, Casey Lawrence on Friday against the Chicago White Sox, then Hernandez and Paxton over the weekend.

Notes:

-- The Mariners claimed left-handed pitcher Dario Alvarez off waivers for the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.

Alvarez will be optioned to Triple-A Tacoma and join the team's minor league camp on Thursday.

Alvarez, 29, appeared in seven games with the Cubs this spring, striking out 11 in 6 1/3 innings pitched while allowing seven hits and six earned runs. He was 2-0 with a 2.76 ERA (16.1 IP, 5 ER) in 20 games with the Texas Rangers last season and held opponents scoreless in 16 of the 20 appearances. However, he walked 14 batters in just 16 1/3 innings pitched last season in Texas.

Alvarez has spent time on the major league rosters of the Rangers, Atlanta Braves and New York Mets. He's made 56 total appearances in the majors, posting a 6-1 record and 5.06 lifetime ERA over 48 innings of work.

-- Ben Gamel took 20 swings off a tee on Tuesday and was scheduled to take 40 swings on Wednesday as he works his way back from a strained oblique that has kept him out for a large portion of spring training.

Gamel was diagnosed with the issue on March 5 and was expected to miss 4-6 weeks. The injury served as the precursor for the team's signing of Ichiro Suzuki as an extra outfielder.


Photo Credit: SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 09: Robinson Cano #22 of the Seattle Mariners turns the double play over the sliding Brandon Crawford #35 of the San Francisco Giants in the second inning of the spring trainin game at Scottsdale Stadium on March 9, 2018 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

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