Mariners to open gates early Friday

Mariners to open gates early Friday

Due to expected large crowds for Friday's game at Safeco Field, gates will open at 4:40 p.m. PT, 30 minutes earlier than usual, the club announced Thursday.

That night, new Mariners pitcher Cliff Lee will make his first start of the season against the Rangers, and the first 20,000 fans will receive a Felix Hernandez bobblehead, courtesy of FSN Northwest.

Safeco Field gates will also open a half-hour early for giveaways on May 7 (Ken Griffey Jr. "The Slide" bobblehead), June 18 (Ichiro Suzuki and Griffey "Cooperstown Bound" bobblehead) and Aug. 27 (Ichiro bobblehead).

Friday's game against the Rangers starts at 7:10 p.m. and marks the start of a nine-game homestand.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.