Cruz flexes muscles in win over Padres

Cruz flexes muscles in win over Padres

PEORIA -- The Peoria Sports Complex unveiled a shiny new HD scoreboard beyond the left-center field wall on Saturday. Nelson Cruz nearly hit it with his first swing of Spring Training.

The Seattle slugger launched athree-run first-inning blastoff Paul Clemens, and the Mariners opened Cactus League play with a 13-3 victory over San Diego on Saturday.

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AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Efficient outing by Miranda impresses Mariners

Efficient outing by Miranda impresses Mariners

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Cuban pitcher Ariel Miranda relies on an interpreter in his interviews with reporters, but the 28-year-old didn't need to wait for the translation when asked Saturday if he was the manager, would he pencil himself in as a starter or reliever.

"Starter," Miranda said with a smile, before the query could be put to Spanish.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com 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.

Cano, Cruz hit the ground running in victory

Cano, Cruz hit the ground running in victory

PEORIA, Ariz. -- It may only have been the first game of Cactus League play, but Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz clearly came ready to play this spring.

And that's good news both for the Mariners and the Dominican Republic's World Baseball Classic squad.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com 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.

Versatile Motter wants to matter to Mariners

Versatile Motter wants to matter to Mariners

PEORIA, Ariz. -- It's easy to spot Taylor Motter on the Mariners practice field, his long locks flowing out from the cap as he moves easily among his teammates. What isn't easy is figuring out exactly where he's lining up, since the 27-year-old Florida native plays virtually anywhere on the field.

Motter, acquired from the Rays in November, has played every position in his pro career, except catcher. And even there, he has donned the gear and done his part.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com 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.

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."

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com 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.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Classic participation an honor for Mariners

11 players from organization will represent their countries in tournament

Classic participation an honor for Mariners

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Inside the Seattle Mariners' clubhouse, participating in the World Baseball Classic isn't a decision.

"It's an honor," pitcher Felix Hernandez said.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @richardjustice. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dyson, Segura get green light on basepaths

Servais wants to see new duo show off speed this spring

Dyson, Segura get green light on basepaths

PEORIA, Ariz. -- A Mariners team that ranked 12th in the American League in stolen bases a year ago will be off and running from the start this spring, if things go the way manager Scott Servais envisions.

General manager Jerry Dipoto added speedsters Jarrod Dyson and Jean Segura in the offseason, and both will be encouraged to test their legs early and often, along with other Mariners as Cactus League play opens Saturday.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com 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.

Team Cano rallies past Cruz in hitting game

Fun contest signals last day before Cactus League action

Team Cano rallies past Cruz in hitting game

PEORIA, Ariz. -- It ended in controversy, with "coach" Nelson Cruz arguing valiantly that his team got robbed in its situational hitting contest Friday against a team captained by Robinson Cano. But for the Mariners, this was the perfect windup to their first week of camp as they prepare for Saturday's Cactus League opener.

Manager Scott Servais eschewed the traditional intrasquad scrimmage as a final warmup for a second straight year. He split the position players in half and let them battle it out for fun in an informal game where points were tallied based on the ability to advance runners in different situations and taken away when the opposite occurred.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com 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.

Breaking down the Mariners' Top 30 list

Overhauled system features trade acquisitions, improved contact rates

Breaking down the Mariners' Top 30 list

Hired as Mariners general manager in September 2015, Jerry Dipoto has since shaken up the team's big league roster and farm system by making 36 trades, far and away more than any other GM during that stretch. It yielded immediate and promising results for the franchise in 2016, when the Mariners battled for an American League Wild Card spot for much of the season en route to an 86-76 overall record and a second-place finish in the AL West.

The Mariners' system as a whole also took a considerable step forward thanks to an organization-wide emphasis on controlling the strike zone and improving contact rates under the guidance of new farm director Andy McKay. All six of Seattle's Minor League affiliates reached the postseason in their respective leagues, with Double-A Jackson and the club's Rookie Arizona League affiliate winning titles.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners get what they wish for on Glove Day

Pitcher Whalen eager to get hands on custom Wilson gloves

Mariners get what they wish for on Glove Day

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Starting pitcher Rob Whalen was all smiles as he watched Shigeaki Aso pound his brand new, custom fielder's glove at the Mariners' Spring Training camp Thursday.

Aso is the "glove guru" for Wilson baseball gloves. He works with players like Whalen, infielders Robinson Cano and Mike Freeman, outfielder Nelson Cruz, former first-round Draft pick D.J. Peterson, catcher Carlos Ruiz, utility man Shawn O'Malley, and pitchers Dan Altavilla and Yovani Gallardo to custom design gloves for them.

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Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cishek says rehab on right track

Cishek says rehab on right track

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Steve Cishek had his second day of playing catch on flat ground Thursday, and everything continued to go well as he recovers from last October's microfracture left hip surgery.

"I'm playing catch every other day," Cishek said. "I expect to throw again in another two days and keep building up my hip strength."

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Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pazos ready for new beginning with Mariners

Young reliever traded from Yankees vies for spot in bullpen

Pazos ready for new beginning with Mariners

PEORIA, Ariz. -- James Pazos described the news of his November trade from the Yankees to the Mariners as "bittersweet." The "bitter" comes from leaving the team that drafted him and nurtured him through the Minors for five years until he made his big league debut last season.

The "sweet" is a result of feeling like he's coming home to the Mariners, starting his first Cactus League season near his childhood home in Arizona and sizing up the heightened opportunity of a bullpen eager for the raw talent the 25-year-old left-hander has shown.

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Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Heston carving out revival in Seattle

Heston carving out revival in Seattle

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Two years ago, Chris Heston was a promising right-hander, who won 12 games for the Giants, including a no-hitter in an outstanding rookie season.

Now the 28-year-old from Florida finds himself trying to carve out a new niche for himself with the Mariners, one of a handful of starters acquired by general manager Jerry Dipoto during the offseason to add rotation depth to the organization.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com 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.

King Felix throws first BP of spring

King Felix throws first BP of spring

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Felix Hernandez threw his first live batting practice session Wednesday as he continued gearing up for his initial Cactus League start next week.

The Mariners ace will make his Spring Training debut Tuesday against the White Sox at 12:10 p.m. PT at Camelback Ranch in Glendale in Seattle's fourth Cactus League game. That will be the first of two spring starts for the 30-year-old before he joins the Venezuela national team to compete in the World Baseball Classic.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com 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.

Martin arrives at camp ready to play

Martin arrives at camp ready to play

PEORIA, Ariz. - Center fielder Leonys Martin finally arrived at Mariners camp Wednesday with the usual smile on his face, ready to focus on baseball again after a delayed start to his Spring Training.

Martin was called to testify on Tuesday in a federal trial in Miami for his former 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.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com 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.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

AL-inclusive: Everyone has eyes on West title

AL-inclusive: Everyone has eyes on West title

PHOENIX -- Jerry Dipoto knows that the Astros are favored to win the American League West, and if baseball analysts aren't talking about Jose Altuve's budding powerhouse, they're focused on the Rangers. Why not? They've won the AL West two years in a row.

Dipoto hides his confidence with a sheepish grin.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Vogelbach flexing footwork, flexibility in camp

Results of offseason workouts impressing Servais

Vogelbach flexing footwork, flexibility in camp

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Daniel Vogelbach has always been a big kid with big aspirations. So the fact that he's now one of the biggest question marks in the Mariners' equation this season as an unproven rookie first baseman doesn't phase him in the least.

Listed at 6-foot, 250 pounds, the 24-year-old doesn't fit the mold of the typical Major League first baseman. But he pushed all winter in Florida to improve his flexibility and footwork to give himself the best chance possible this year, and he is eager to see how things play out on the practice fields of the Peoria Sports Complex.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com 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.

Cishek excited about first throws of spring

Reliever recovering from microfracture hip surgery

Cishek excited about first throws of spring

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Playing catch may not seem like a huge deal for most Major League pitchers, but Mariners reliever Steve Cishek took great joy in an easy 25-toss session with one of the team's trainers on a side field behind the rest of his teammates Tuesday.

After undergoing microfracture hip surgery in October, this was Cishek's first chance to throw, and he began his Spring Training in an admitted small step in a recovery process he hopes gets him back on the mound in the opening months of the regular season.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com 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.

Impactful Seager crucial to middle of lineup

Impactful Seager crucial to middle of lineup

PEORIA, Ariz. -- On a team with a few big-time stars in Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Felix Hernandez, he's not the first name that pops up when people talk about Mariners baseball. But don't underestimate the impact of Kyle Seager on Seattle's club and its chances in 2017.

"I think he is underappreciated," manager Scott Servais said when asked about his third baseman's role. "He's a huge part of what we do here. The energy that he brings, how he goes about his business. I appreciate it, every day being able to write his name in the lineup. It's a great feeling."

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com 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.

Mather: Mariners fans deserve October baseball

Mather: Mariners fans deserve October baseball

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Kevin Mather is beginning his third season as Mariners president, which puts him in perfect position to pass on a Presidents Day message for Seattle baseball fans.

The Mariners have made a host of changes to their organization since Mather replaced the retiring Chuck Armstrong. MLB.com asked him to share his thoughts as the team prepares to embark on the 2017 campaign.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com 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.

Icebreaker opens first full-squad workout

Icebreaker opens first full-squad workout

PEORIA, Ariz. -- After a rainy weekend slowed the start of Mariners camp, the team took the field for its first full-squad workout on Monday under mostly sunny skies as the action heated up quickly at the club's Peoria Sports Complex.

"It felt good to put the cleats back on and get out there and move around a little bit and get the blood flowing again," infielder Shawn O'Malley said. "Baseball season is here. Another year. The sun was out, and it's good."

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com 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.

Cruz says Mariners are 'more ready' in 2017

Slugger excited to defend World Baseball Classic crown with Dominican

Cruz says Mariners are 'more ready' in 2017

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Nelson Cruz had only been back at Mariners camp for a day, but the slugger has already adopted manager Scott Servais' new slogan for 2017: "Whatever it takes."

For Cruz, that fits right with his professional mantra of being prepared and willing to help his Mariners in any way possible, as they look to end the longest postseason drought in the Major Leagues.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com 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.

Servais embraces Mariners' high expectations

Second-year manager delivers state-of-the-team address on Sunday

Servais embraces Mariners' high expectations

PEORIA, Ariz. -- A busy offseason for a team that just missed the playoffs last year has raised expectations and pressure on a Mariners club that hasn't made the postseason since 2001. But second-year manager Scott Servais said that is a welcome feeling, as his group took the field for its first full-squad workout of the spring on Sunday.

Of the 61 players in camp for the initial workout, 26 were brought in this offseason by general manager Jerry Dipoto. Only nine players who were on the 40-man roster when Dipoto took over 17 months ago are still with the club. But with new players has come an increased belief that the Mariners are poised to take the next step after improving by 10 wins to 86-76 last year.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com 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.

Felix impressing teammates early in camp

Former Cy Young Award winner is eyeing a bounceback season

Felix impressing teammates early in camp

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Felix Hernandez, who normally starts spring on a slower schedule, looked sharp again during his second bullpen session on Sunday, as the Mariners' ace continues to impress teammates after an offseason full of rigorous training.

"I was joking with him yesterday that he looked like a real man now," Nelson Cruz said. "He's big, and he has muscles. Hopefully that can translate into wins. That's what we are looking for is wins for him. Like anybody else, he just has to stay healthy. "

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com 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.

Dipoto turns back clock with game of catch in bullpen

Dipoto turns back clock with game of catch in bullpen

PEORIA, Ariz. -- No, he's not going to come out of retirement and don a Mariners uniform, general manager Jerry Dipoto insisted. And no, he's not looking to trade himself.

But baseball's most active GM -- having made a Major League-high 38 trades in 17 months since taking over Seattle's front office -- ditched the deals for a day. He donned his glove and played catch in the bullpen at the team's Peoria Sports Complex following Sunday's first full-squad workout.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com 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.

Cano's goal: End Mariners' postseason drought

Second baseman looks to repeat impressive 39-homer 2016 season

Cano's goal: End Mariners' postseason drought

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Coming off one of the best seasons of his impressive 12-year career, Robinson Cano has two things in mind this spring. No. 1, do it all again. And No. 2, this time help get his team into the postseason.

The 34-year-old second baseman arrived at Mariners camp on Saturday, as Seattle's position players reported for physical exams, and pronounced himself fit and ready. But Cano also knows he set a high bar last year with his career-high 39 home runs in his seventh All-Star campaign.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com 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.