Mariners manager Scott Servais smiles as he talks to a coach prior to a spring training game against the Cubs on March 10, 2017, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Mariners manager Scott Servais smiles as he talks to a coach prior to a spring training game against the Cubs on March 10, 2017, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Servais says Mariners ‘could’ open season with 8-man bullpen

PEORIA, Ariz. — Manager Scott Servais offered up a new wrinkle Tuesday in the Seattle Mariners’ potential roster mix for the start of the regular season.

It could include eight relievers — “could” is the key word.

“We’ve discussed all kinds of different options in how you want to break and who you play on that first road trip,” Servais said. “How we match up with their lineups. That will be a decision we’ll make right at the end of camp.”

The Mariners open the season with four games at Houston and then play three against the Angels in Anaheim before opening their home schedule with a nine-game run against Houston, Texas and Miami.

The bullpen is already is flux because of Steve Cishek’s slow recovery from offseason hip surgery and Shae Simmons now battling through a muscle strain in his forearm.

Servais effectively confirmed Monday that Cishek will start the season on the disabled list, while Simmons is being shutdown for several days until his forearm soreness dissipates.

That leaves Nick Vincent and Evan Scribner as the top right-handed setup relievers for closer Edwin Diaz. Lefty Marc Rzepczynski will also see late-inning duty in matchup situations.

“(Dan) Altavilla will be in the mix there,” Servais said. “We’ve got some competition now … Casey Fien works into that mix as well. It’ll come down to the end of camp.”

WBC’s ongoing impact

Outfielder Tyler O’Neill returned to camp Tuesday following Canada’s elimination in the World Baseball Classic. Right-hander Yovani Gallardo (Mexico) is also on his way back.

But the Mariners no longer appear certain about the return of lefty Drew Smyly, whose original obligation to the United States was believed to be a single appearance.

“I’m not sure what’s going to happen,” Servais admitted. “At this point, I’m done predicting anything. Rosters change, and plans change daily. By the inning, if you watch some of these games.

“We’re not the only team affected. The competitive nature of people, you want to play these guys. You want to play the best players. You want to win these games. Sometimes that takes over.”

Smyly is scheduled to start Wednesday against Venezuela and teammate Felix Hernandez at Petco Park in San Diego.

“That will be interesting,” Servais said. “We will be watching. We’ll see how that goes.”

The Mariners’ two-three-four hitters are also taking part in the four-team, second-round bracket this week in San Diego along with their closer.

Shortstop Jean Segura, second baseman Robinson Cano and designated hitter Nelson Cruz are playing for the Dominican Republic, the tournament favorite and defending champion. Diaz is pitching for Puerto Rico.

Two teams from the San Diego bracket will advance to the tournament semifinals next week at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The championship game is March 22.

Outfield mix

First baseman Danny Valencia started Monday’s game in right field, which is where he is likely to play whenever he draws outfield duty. The regular right fielder, Mitch Haniger, shifted to left field.

Servais said Valencia is “more comfortable” in right field. Valencia started 36 games last season for Oakland in right field but only one in left field.

“For a guy who’s not out there that often,” Servais said, “I want to keep him as comfortable as I can.”

There is no hesitation in shifting Haniger to left to accommodate Valencia or Cruz, who is also slotted for some time in right field.

“(Haniger) can go anywhere,” Servais said. “I think you saw his jumps (Monday) in left field. Very good. He made the plays he’s supposed to make. He’s very comfortable anywhere he’s at.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Jackson's Amanda Wingert connects with a pitch during a game against Everett on Thursday afternoon at Henry M. Jackson High School in Mill Creek on April 8, 2021. The Timberwolves won 14-0. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Return of spring sports brings excitement, challenges

Teams in Wesco played their first games since 2019 this week after last season was canceled.

Prep sports roundup.
Prep results for Friday, April 9

Prep results for Friday, April 9: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report scores… Continue reading

Jackson's Helena Ah-Loe is high-fived after a home run against Everett Thursday afternoon at Henry M. Jackson High School in Mill Creek on April 8, 2021. Jackson dominated Everett, 15-0. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
GALLERY: Jackson scores nine in the first, thumps Everett

The Timberwolves moved to 2-0 on the season behind a big day at the plate.

Kevin Clark / The Herald

***Silvertips Special Sections*****
Yan Khomenko signals for substitution Sunday night at Xfinity Arena in Everett, Wa on September 6th, 2015

Sports:  Silvertips Special Section
Shot on: 09/06/15
Goncalves’ late goal lifts Silvertips over Thunderbirds

The standout forward’s 7th goal of the season with under two minutes to play gives Everett a 4-3 win.

Marysville Getchell's Bradley Aasen slides into second base while Marysville Pilchuck's Alex Smith reaches to tag him during the game on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 in Marysville, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
GALLERY: Getchell blanks Pilchuck as spring sports return

The Chargers welcome the return of spring sports after an almost two-year absence with a 10-0 win.

The Herald’s Athlete of the Week poll.
Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for March 29-April 4

The Athlete of the Week nominees for March 29-April 4. Voting closes… Continue reading

The Herald's Prep Athlete of the Month.
Vote for The Herald’s Athlete of the Month for March 2021

The candidates are the winners of the four athlete-of-the-week polls during the month.

Snohomish's Kendall Bensen competes in the 100 yard back stroke finishing sixth Saturday evening during the 3A Girls Swim & Dive Championship at King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way on November 16, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Local girls swimmers, divers earn All-Wesco marks

The league held a virtual meet to honor athletes from its Class 4A, 3A North and 3A South divisions.

Prep sports roundup.
Prep results for Thursday, April 8

Prep results for Thursday, April 8: Baseball Wesco Arlington 11, Glacier Peak… Continue reading

Most Read