Mariners Game Preview: Iwakuma to Make Spring Debut vs. Rangers


M’s look to get back in the ‘win’ column as they send Iwakuma to the mound.

The Seattle Mariners (2-2) will travel to Surprise, Arizona this afternoon to take on the Texas Rangers (3-0-1). Hisashi Iwakuma is scheduled to make his first appearance of 2016. The M’s are matching up against Nick Tepesch, who is making his first start of the spring, but he has made an appearance of two innings where he struck out one and walked one without allowing a hit.

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We all know what Kuma brings to the Mariners pitching staff. He has been brilliant for this team over the past four seasons since coming over from Japan. Despite Iwakuma being plagued by injury last season, Jerry Dipoto re-signed him to a 1-year, $12 million contract with team options for 2017 and 2018. Hopefully Kuma still has another couple of good years left in that right arm of his.

Tepesch has only made a handful of Major League starts over the past four years with Texas. It’s hard to tell what the Rangers might get out of him in 2016, but apparently they’ve seen enough to give him another shot.

Here are the lineups for this afternoon as announced by managers Scott Servais and Jeff Banister:

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This lineup is mostly subs today other than Nori Aoki, Leonys Martin, Seth Smith, and Chris Iannetta. It’s interesting to point out the players battling for backup positions that are in today’s lineup. Gaby Sanchez is at first base and Dae-Ho Lee is DH, both competing for the backup first base job. And competing for the utility infielder gig are Chris Taylor who is at third base, Shawn O’Malley will play second base and Luis Sardinas at shortstop. It’s too early at this point in the spring to say who is leading either of these position battles, but it’s something to watch as Spring Training rolls on.

Unfortunately, the game this afternoon will not be televised. But don’t worry! You can listen to the wonderful stories and play-by-play given by Rick Rizzs and Aaron Goldsmith on 710 ESPN! What better way to spend a leisurely Sunday afternoon than taking in the poetic splendor that is spring baseball?

Next: Mariners Top 20 Prospects: #1 RF Alex Jackson

Be sure to follow SoDo Mojo on twitter for live updates throughout today’s game, and check back here once the final out has been recorded for a full recap of today’s action. Go Mariners!