Hernandez will pitch Saturday in Oakland. After a rare off day Sunday, the Mariners play four in Texas against the defending American League champions. Newcomer Hector Noesi will open against the Rangers, followed by former Rangers Blake Beavan Tuesday and Kevin Millwood Wednesday before Vargas gets his third start of the season Thursday, April 12.
Hernandez and Vargas were in top form last week in Tokyo against the A’s. Hernandez Wednesday gave up five hits, one run and struck out six over eight innings and 94 pitches in a 3-1 win over the A’s, followed by Vargas Thursday with one run and three hits in 6.1. innings in a 4-1 loss.
The flip of the top two pitchers had to do with the ability to have throw days in the remaining exhibition season in Arizona and avoid a longer layoff because of the trip to Japan, according to pitching coach Carl Willis, who said the home opener was not a factor.
“It kind of presents our best option of keeping them both as sharp as possible without the ability to have them both pitch in a game,” Willis told reporters Sunday morning, after which the Mariners, erupting for six runs in the sixth inning, beat the Kansas City Royals 6-4, in which Beavan gave up four runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings.
Hernandez is scheduled to pitch Monday against ex-Mariner Jamie Moyer, who at 49 became the oldest pitcher to make a roster when the Colorado Rockies named him their No. 2 starter over the weekend.
In other personnel news, several Mariners were reported not feeling well after their nine-hour return flight Friday from Japan, including second baseman Dustin Ackley, who was sent home early.
“I think we’ll have enough time here where we’ll be on track,” said manager Eric Wedge. “We have a lot of young kids who are pretty resilient.”
The Mariners played a split-squad game Saturday against San Diego, which they won 6-1 with a roster entirely of prospects who didn’t make the Japan trip. The only veteran was Millwood, the starting pitcher, who also stayed home. He gave up one run and five hits over seven innings and 97 pitches, striking out eight.
Left fielder Mike Carp, who sprained his right shoulder Wednesday diving for a ball in Tokyo, was told he had no structural damage after an MRI. He was put on the 15-day disabled list March 29, but because of the return to spring training, it’s possible Carp will miss only a half-dozen games and be ready for the April 13 home opener.
In ex-Mariners news, Michael Pineda was placed on the New York Yankees’ 15-day disabled list with shoulder tendon inflammation. Not structural damage was reported.
Pineda showed up to camp 20 pounds overweight. He had a 5.58 spring ERA with 18 strikeouts and 10 walks.
In the off-season’s most talked-about trade, Pineda was dealt for catcher/DH Jesus Montero, who had a single in seven at-bats in Japan and Sunday had an RBI single against Kansas City. He’s hitting .282 with 12 RBIs.
Seattle Mariners 2012 Roster
|49||Blake Beavan||R-R||6-7||240||17-Jan-89||Irving, TX.|
|35||Steve Delabar||R-R||6-5||220||17-Jul-83||Fort Knox, KY|
|41||Charlie Furbush||L-L:||6-5||215||11-Apr-86||Portland, ME|
|34||Felix Hernandez||R-R||6-3||230||8-Apr-86||Valenciz, VZ|
|18||Hisashi Iwakuma||R-R||6-3||190||12-Apr-81||Tokyo, Japan|
|23||Shawn Kelley||R-R||6-2||220||26-Apr-84||Louisville, KY|
|43||Brandon League||R-R||6-2||210||16-Mar-83||Sacramento, CA.|
|25||Kevin Millwood||R-R||6-2||210||16-Mar-83||Sacramento, CA.|
|44||Lucas Luetge||L-L||6-4||205||24-Mar-87||Brenham, TX.|
|45||Hector Noesi||R-R||6-3||200||26-Jan-87||Valverde, DR|
|50||Erasmo Ramirez||R-R||6-0||180||29-Apr-76||Santa Ana, CA.|
|52||George Sherrill||L-L||6-0||225||19-Apr-77||Memphis, TN.|
|38||Jason Vargas||L-L||6-0||215||2-Feb-83||Apple Valley, CA.|
|54||Tom Wilhelmsen||R-R||6-6||230||16-Dec-83||Tucson, AZ.|
|27||John Jaso||L-R||6-2||205||19-Sep-83||Chula Vista, CA.|
|63||Jesus Montero||R-R||6-3||235||28-Nov-89||Carabob, VZ|
|30||Miguel Olivo||R-R||6-3||230||15-Jul-78||Villa Vasquez, DR|
|13||Dustin Ackley||L-R||6-1||190||26-Feb-88||Winston-Salem, N.C.|
|9||Chone Figgins||S-R||5-9||180||22-Jan-78||Leary, GA.|
|61||Munenori Kawasaki||S-R||5-10||165||3-Jun-81||Kagoshima, JP|
|16||Alex Liddi||R-R||6-4||230||14-Aug-88||San Remo, Italy|
|26||Brendan Ryan||R-R||6-2||195||26-Mar-82||Los Angeles, CA.|
|15||Kyle Seager||L-R||6-0||195||3-Nov-87||Charlotte, N.C.|
|17||Justin Smoak||S-L||6-4||230||5-Dec-86||Goose Creek, SC.|
|20||^Mike Carp||L-R||6-2||210||30-Jun-86||Long Beach, CA.|
|20||Carlos Peguero||L-L||6-5||245||22-Feb-87||Hondo Valle, DR|
|55||Michael Saunders||L-R||6-4||215||19-Nov-86||Victoria, B.C.|
|51||Ichiro Suzuki||L-R||5-11||170||22-Oct-73||Kobe, Japan|
|33||Casper Wells||R-R||6-2||210||11-Nov-84||Grand Rapids, MI|
*=Non-roster invitee; ^=15-day disabled list