Rainiers Focus On Opener

The 2017 Rainiers got their first taste of Cheney Stadium yesterday, working out on a sunny afternoon before attending a media dinner in the Summit Club.

The general feel around the team was “happy to be there.” Spring training was long, and these guys are ready to start the season.

Manager Pat Listach announced his starting rotation:

  • RHP Sam Gaviglio
  • RHP Chris Heston
  • RHP Dylan Unsworth
  • RHP Christian Bergman
  • TBA

The fifth spot was supposed to go to Chase De Jong, but he’s currently on the Mariners roster filling in for Dillon Overton who is on paternity leave. Assuming De Jong gets sent back to Tacoma by Monday and isn’t used extensively by the M’s, he’ll be the fifth starter.

Because the Rainiers start the season with a five-game road trip to Sacramento, Gaviglio is set to start both the season opener and the home opener on April 11 (good seats still available – get ’em here or at the Cheney Stadium box office).

Some other notes from the day:

  • Anticipated Rainiers starter Cody Martin is staying in extended spring training to nurse a sore elbow. It is not considered serious and he is expected to join the Rainiers fairly soon.
  • Reliever Jonathan Aro‘s absence from the roster is more of a mystery. Apparently he’s still in Arizona and is not injured.
  • Veteran reliever Mark Lowe is happy to be back with the Mariners organization. He said that after Detroit released him in late March, he “told his agent to call the Mariners and talk them into signing me.”
  • Most of the team hung around at the Summit Club for a while after dinner, watching the Mariners game and the NCAA Championship.
  • Listach said he is still pondering his opening day batting order. Where to hit Tyler O’Neill seems to be the pivotal decision. Bat him second, to get him additional plate appearances? Hit him third, with two of the speedier veteran players in front of him? Are we really considering batting a 21-year-old third in a Triple-A lineup? Protect the kid and hide him lower down? Lots of question marks here – we’ll see what he decides to do.
  • Nick Hagadone settled my internal debate: it’s pronounced HAG-ah-dawn. For some reason that name really trips me up.
  • Oh, and for the final time, it’s Vogel-back. Someone please tell Jerry Dipoto and Scott Servais.
  • It sounds like Listach is going to lean on his veteran relievers in crucial situations and closing scenarios. Think Jean Machi and Lowe in these spots.
  • Tony Zych starts the season on a rehabilitation assignment with Tacoma. He’s supposed to get some work in the opener on Thursday.

The team had another workout this morning, giving the players (and coaches) the afternoon to work on finding housing. We’ll all fly to Sacramento on Wednesday.

Hey, we just had a roster move right before I pressed “publish” on today’s blog.

The Mariners claimed RHP Evan Marshall off waivers from the Diamondbacks, and optioned him to Tacoma. Tacoma has an open roster spot, because De Jong is with the Mariners right now.

A relief pitcher, Marshall has spent all or part of the last four years with Reno, and has also pitched in 68 major league games for Arizona. He has a 4.44 career ERA in the PCL, and a 4.50 mark in the majors.

Marshall was involved in one of the scariest on-field moments I have ever heard of, with Reno in 2015, and his recovery is a remarkable story.

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