The rotation (for now) is set: Hernandez, Snell, Rowland-Smith, Fister, Vargas

Manager Don Wakamatsu has his five starting pitchers in order, although he’s done it in pencil and chiseled it in Jello.

Saying there are other “dynamics” that could alter things — namely Cliff Lee’s health — here is how the Mariners will assemble the rotation to start the season:

  • Right-hander Felix Hernandez on April 5 at Oakland.
  • Right-hander Ian Snell on April 6 at Oakland
  • Left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith on April 7 at Oakland
  • Right-hander Doug Fister on April 8 at Oakland
  • Left-hander Jason Vargas on April 9 at Texas
  • “There are some dynamics that I really can’t talk about,” Wakamatsu said.

    Take a guess as to what that means, although Wakamatsu later said the uncertainty revolves mostly around Lee and how long he’ll be out with his strained lower right abdomen muscle.

    Here’s one scenario, purely speculative on my part: Lee is scheduled to play catch this morning and, despite recent reports that he has improved, whether he feels pain in this session may determine the Mariners’ course of action. If Lee throws with no pain, I can see the Mariners having him continue his throwing program and making do with a starting rotation as listed above. But, if Lee feels more pain and it seems like he’ll need a longer recovery, I can see the Mariners looking at options outside the organization.

    Again, pure speculation on my part, but you can be sure GM Jack Zduriencik has explored pitchers he could acquire. As Zduriencik has said many times, he wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t look at the possibilities.

    Other notes this morning:

  • The Mariners have optioned left-handed pitcher Luke French to Class AAA Tacoma, sending him down to continue his work as a starter. Wakamatsu said there would be two more cuts from the major league camp today.
  • Felix Hernandez will pitch in a minor league intrasquad game this morning, his final spring training outing before opening day. The Mariners don’t want him facing Texas in the Cactus League game this afternoon at Surprise because he’s scheduled to pitch at Texas on April 10. Left-hander Garrett Olson also will pitch in the minor league intrasquad. Right-hander David Pauley will start against the Raingers today.
  • The Mariners still don’t know when Lee’s hearing will take place with Major League Baseball concerning his five-game suspension. There was supposed to be a conference call on Monday, but it was postponed because all the necessary people couldn’t take part.
  • As Wakamatsu has said before, catchers Rob Johnson and Adam Moore will get fairly equal playing time early in the season. Johnson is doing well with his surgically repaired hips, even though he didn’t catch all nine innings of Monday’s game against the A’s as originally planned. Wakamatsu said the flow of the game dictated the decision to pull Johnson after six innings because he had caught a lot of pitches and run the bases a few times. There was no need to push him any further.
  • Erik Bedard plans to throw from a mound again today as he continues his impressive comeback from shoulder surgery last August. “We’re ahead of schedule,” Wakamatsu said. The Mariners won’t say when they expect to have Bedard pitching again, although Wakamatsu said there’s no plan now to put him on the 60-day disabled list.
  • Talk to us

    More in Sports

    Lynnwood starter Jace Hampson delivers a pitch during a game against Lake Stevens on Friday, March 17, 2023, at Lake Stevens High School in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
    Prep baseball preview: 5 things to watch this season

    A look at the top local storylines to keep an eye on this high school baseball season.

    Spring sports roundup.
    Prep roundup for Wednesday, March 22

    Prep roundup for Wednesday, March 22: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

    The Everett Elite Flag Football 14-under team practices Sunday morning at Harbour Pointe Middle School in Mukilteo, Washington on January 16, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
    Community roundup: AquaSox schedule exhibition game vs. EvCC

    Plus, Lynnwood native Myles Gaskin re-signs with the Dolphins, a Fly Casting Fair will be held in Mountlake Terrace and more.

    Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for March 13-19

    The Athlete of the Week nominees for March 13-19. Voting closes at… Continue reading

    Glacier Peak's Trey Leckner (top left), Stanwood's Viviennet Berrett (top right), Lake Stevens' Bella Christiensen (bottom left) and Snohomish's Kale Hammer (bottom right) are all heading to NCAA D-I schools. (Herald file photos)
    Local athletes who have signed to play sports in college

    A running list of class of 2023 athletes who are set to compete at the next level.

    Japan pitcher Shohei Ohtani (16) celebrates after defeating the United States at the World Baseball Classic final game, Tuesday, March 21, 2023, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)
    Japan edges U.S. 3-2 for World Baseball Classic championship

    Shohei Ohtani fans Los Angeles Angels teammate Mike Trout for the final out as Japan claims its first WBC title since 2009.

    Spring sports roundup.
    Prep roundup for Tuesday, March 21

    Prep roundup for Tuesday, March 21: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

    Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Al Woods (99) enters the field during player introductions before playing against the New York Jets in an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in Seattle, Wash. Seahawks won 23-6. (AP Photo/Jeff Lewis)
    Seahawks release Al Woods, continue to reshape defensive line

    The soon-to-be 36-year-old joins Shleby Harris and Quinton Jefferson as veteran linemen cut this offseason by Seattle.

    Washington guard Keyon Menifield reacts after making a basket against Oregon State during the first half of an NCAA collage basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
    Menifield announces return to UW men’s basketball team

    The guard joins Braxton Meah and backcourt mate Koren Johnson in deciding to return for another season with the Huskies.

    Most Read