PEORIA, Ariz. -- Left-handed starter Roenis Elias will get one more chance to earn a spot in the big league rotation when he takes the mound later this week.
Elias threw a light bullpen session on Monday and is scheduled to throw on flat ground on Wednesday. He expects to pitch Friday night against the Rockies at Peoria Stadium.
"It doesn't matter who I pitch against, but I'm going to be ready to go Friday," Elias, 25, said in Spanish. "First of all, I am very grateful to the Mariners for having me here and giving me a chance to make the team. I'm really happy with the way things have gone. I'm feeling great physically, and I'm getting my innings."
Elias allowed four hits and two runs over 5 1/3 innings with two walks and four strikeouts against the Rockies in his last start and sports a 2.04 ERA in during his five Cactus League outings. Elias, who has never pitched above Double-A ball and is in camp as a non-roster Minor League invitee, appears to be in the mix for one of the two final spots in the rotation behind Felix Hernandez, Erasmo Ramirez and James Paxton.
"I'm trying to win a job and it feels like they are giving me a chance to do it, but you never know how baseball is and what they are thinking," he said. "Of course, I would love start in the Major Leagues, but it's up to them."
Elias defected from Cuba on a boat in 2010 and has not seen his family since. He says his friendships with Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, Oakland outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and Texas center fielder Leonys Martin have helped him cope with the pressures that come with being in big league camp.
"They are all very encouraging and want to see me win a job," Elias said. "We have to be like a family because all of our family is back home. We have to stick together."