Mariners Insider

March
29th

Mariners clear spots for Walker, Olson by optioning Elias, Smith to Tacoma

PEORIA, Ariz. — The final spot in the Mariners’ rotation appears to belong to right-hander Taijuan Walker after the club optioned lefty Roenis Elias on Sunday to Triple-A Tacoma in a series of roster moves.

Walker would complete a five-man unit headed by right-hander Felix Hernandez and offering a right/left balance with lefty James Paxton, righty Hisashi Iwakuma and lefty J.A. Happ.

“Those things have not been talked about yet from an official standpoint,” manager Lloyd McClendon said, “but Taijuan has thrown the ball extremely well.”

McClendon stopped just short

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March
28th

Mariners confirm report that Sanchez has died from head wounds

PEORIA, Ariz. — Mariners pitching prospect Victor Sanchez has passed away from injuries suffered in a Feb. 13 accident in which he was struck in the head by a boat’s propeller while swimming.

Reports of Sanchez’s death surfaced early Saturday evening in Venezuela. The Mariners confirmed those reports in a statement issued around 8:30 p.m.

“The Seattle Mariners are saddened to learn of the passing of Victor Sanchez,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “Victor was a tremendous young man and a wonderful teammate.

“He was a very talented player who was close to fulfilling his promise as a Major Leaguer.

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March
28th

Analysis: Don’t be surprised if Mariners use modified six-man rotation

PEORIA, Ariz. — So lefty Roenis Elias looks like the odd-man out in the Mariners’ spring game of rotation roulette. After a promising rookie season, Elias figures to open this season at Triple-A Tacoma.

Right-hander Taijuan Walker certainly earned his spot in the five-man unit by pitching 18 scoreless innings in his five spring starts. He allowed just six hits while striking out 19 and walking four.

None of this is official yet. More importantly, it might not matter much in the long run. Elias appears likely to log lots of time this season at the big-league level.

Club officials won’t

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March
28th

GIANTS (SS) 9, MARINERS 8 (AT PEORIA STADIUM)

THE FACTS: There was much to like Saturday from the Mariners before Erasmo Ramirez suffered a five-run meltdown in the ninth inning that squandered a four-run lead in a loss to a San Francisco split squad.

The winning run scored when Mark Lowe threw a wild pitch with Kelby Tomlinson on third after a two-run triple against Ramirez.

It was pretty ugly stuff, but before that…

Mike Zunino hit two more homers and turned in a defensive gem on a bunt that helped the Mariners build an 8-4 lead.

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March
28th

Mariners notebook: Hernandez now a `100 percent’ pick to pitch season opener

PEORIA, Ariz. — What was once a near-certainty is now absolute.

Manager Lloyd McClendon previously cited staff ace Felix Hernandez as having a “99.9999 percent” chance of starting the season opener on April 6 against the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field.

Asked Saturday whether that was still the case, McClendon provided new odds: “He’s up to 100 percent.”

It will be Hernandez’s seventh straight, and eighth overall, start in a season opener.

 

TALENT ON HAND

Rule 5 pick David Rollins had emerged as the favorite for duty

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March
27th

ROYALS 5, MARINERS 1 (AT SURPRISE STADIUM)

THE FACTS: The Mariners got a look Friday night at right-hander Yordano Ventura, who will pitch the season opener for the Kansas City Royals. A look and not much else.

Ventura pitched seven no-hit innings before the Mariners broke through with an RBI single by Tyler Smith, after two walks, in the eighth against Jason Frasor.

That was the Mariners’ only hit.

Mariners starter James Paxton struggled to find the strike zone in his 3 2/3 innings. He gave up five runs, although three were unearned, and threw just 36 of 68 pitches for strikes.

“My mechanics were affecting everything,”

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March
27th

Mariners reliever David Rollins suspended 80 games for steroid use

PEORIA, Ariz. — What lefty reliever David Rollins termed “one bad decision” will cost him a chance this spring to pitch his way on the Mariners’ roster.

Rollins received an 80-game suspension Friday from Major League Baseball after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

“This (happened) was when I got back from winter ball,” he said. “I was sore, and I was just trying to speed up the recovery. And just made a bad judgment.”

Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said the club was still exploring its options regarding Rollins’ status as a Rule 5 pick but plans to

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March
26th

ROYALS 3, MARINERS (SS) 0 (AT PEORIA STADIUM); BREWERS 15, MARINERS (SS) 1 (AT MARYVALE PARK)

THE FACTS: After a clean effort Wednesday night in a 3-2 victory over the Cubs, the Mariners made as quick turnaround Thursday, split their squad and lost two games.

The loss to Kansas City had a familiar feel. Felix Hernandez was dominant — one run in six innings — and departed trailing 1-0. The Royals added two more runs in the eighth against Danny Farquhar.

Roenis Elias’ flickering rotation hopes took a major hit when he started the game against Milwaukee in Maryvale by giving up two singles, a walk and a grand slam to Khris Davis. It never got better.

The

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