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Marco on the mark in spring debut with Mariners

Gonzales strikes out four Dodgers over two hitless innings
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

PEORIA, Ariz. -- For Marco Gonzales, it was the perfect first step on the road to showing he belongs in the Mariners' rotation.

The 26-year-old southpaw threw two scoreless innings against the defending National League-champion Dodgers, allowing no hits with just one walk and four strikeouts in a sharp outing that set the tone for the Mariners' 2-0 Cactus League victory Sunday at Peoria Stadium.

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- For Marco Gonzales, it was the perfect first step on the road to showing he belongs in the Mariners' rotation.

The 26-year-old southpaw threw two scoreless innings against the defending National League-champion Dodgers, allowing no hits with just one walk and four strikeouts in a sharp outing that set the tone for the Mariners' 2-0 Cactus League victory Sunday at Peoria Stadium.

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Gonzales went 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in 10 games (seven starts) after being acquired from the Cardinals last July, but the Mariners believe he can be much improved now that he's a second year removed from Tommy John surgery. They would love to see him grab the fifth rotation spot this spring.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Asked if people have seen the real Gonzales yet, the former first-round Draft pick out of Gonzaga just smiled.

"I don't know if I've seen the real me yet," he said. "I've been hindered the past couple years and haven't been able to figure out what my potential is. I'm exploring, just like other people are trying to get to know me. Having a new elbow is something I'm excited about, because I haven't had the chance to learn and develop at this level and be healthy at the same time. So I'm excited for what I can do."

Mariners Spring Training info

Gonzales faced most of the Dodgers' normal lineup, striking out Chase Utley and Justin Turner around a Corey Seager groundout in the first, then mowing down Joc Pederson and Andrew Toles to end the second after a leadoff walk to Matt Kemp.

"You get out there and see [Clayton] Kershaw warming up on the other line, it's hard not to get super fired up," he said. "I was pumped. My body felt good, my arm feels great. I'm just trying to stay right there, just trying to maintain that."

Video: LAD@SEA: Gonzales discusses his scoreless debut

Cruz plunked in first at-bat
Seeing your All-Star DH go down in a heap after taking a fastball off his left wrist in his first Cactus League plate appearance isn't ideal, but Nelson Cruz survived that scare from Dodgers reliever Tom Koehler and said he was fine afterward.

"Obviously you don't want to see anybody go down on their first at-bat of the spring," manager Scott Servais said. "He should be OK. He took it off his forearm and luckily not off his hand. Nelson is a pretty tough guy. He'll be all right."

The Mariners have been hit by pitches six times through three spring games.

Servais impressed by Whalen turnaround
The Mariners manager loved what he saw from relievers Juan Nicasio and Edwin Diaz, who fired scoreless frames in the third and fourth innings. But Servais was most effusive when it came to Rob Whalen, the right-hander who left Triple-A Tacoma's club last July due to dealing with depression and anxiety amid a rough season.

The 23-year-old threw two scoreless innings with one hit, one walk and three strikeouts, coming back from a 3-0 deficit to strike out Seager and strand two runners in the fifth.

"I'm really happy for Rob Whalen," Servais said. "Of all the players I've seen over time, for him to kind of reinvent. ... He cleaned up his personal life and totally revamped everything. He looks like a different guy. That's the best stuff I've ever seen him have. The composure on the mound, the confidence, it says a lot from where he was to where he's at now."

Video: LAD@SEA: Whalen whiffs Toles to start the 5th

Worth noting
X-rays on Daniel Vogelbach's right foot showed no broken bones, but the first baseman is expected to miss at least three or four days with a bruise from a hit by pitch Friday.

Ben Gamel provided the offensive highlight Sunday, ripping a triple to the right-field gap and scoring on a wild pitch in the third.

Video: LAD@SEA: Gamel lines a triple to right-center in 3rd

Up next
Felix Hernandez makes his spring debut in Monday's 12:05 p.m. PT game against the Cubs in Mesa (listen live on Gameday Audio). The Mariners' longtime ace is slated for two innings, with Max Povse, James Pazos, Shawn Armstrong, Ljay Newsome and Dan Altavilla slated for relief.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Marco Gonzales

Brotherly love: Seagers share field for first time

Corey, Kyle square off in spring game; 7 years separated them as kids
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb and @kengurnick

PEORIA, Ariz. -- They're as close as baseball brothers can be, working out together every winter in North Carolina, rooting each other on from afar during the season and sharing ideas via text or phone on a near-daily basis.

But Kyle Seager is seven years older than Corey Seager and never played with or against him growing up. Other than buying a ticket to see his younger brother play a World Series game in Houston last October, the Mariners third baseman hadn't even seen his sibling play in person since Corey was 11.

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- They're as close as baseball brothers can be, working out together every winter in North Carolina, rooting each other on from afar during the season and sharing ideas via text or phone on a near-daily basis.

But Kyle Seager is seven years older than Corey Seager and never played with or against him growing up. Other than buying a ticket to see his younger brother play a World Series game in Houston last October, the Mariners third baseman hadn't even seen his sibling play in person since Corey was 11.

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Until Sunday, that is, when Kyle and Corey lined up against each other at Peoria Stadium as Seattle beat Corey's Dodgers, 2-0, in Cactus League action.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Corey, playing designated hitter for the Dodgers, avoided the temptation to drop a bunt down on Kyle and instead grounded out to the right side of the infield in his first two-at-bats and then struck out in his final plate appearance.

Kyle went 2-for-2 with a pair of singles, making him 4-for-4 this spring, though he was thrown out at third trying to advance during a rundown in the first inning, tagged out by Dodgers backup shortstop Donovan Solano.

"Being out there and being on the same field as him, it was pretty cool," Kyle said. "It worked out because he wasn't playing shortstop, because I think he'd have given me a lot more grief if he'd tagged me out on that play. So that worked out."

The Mariners jokingly tried to pick Kyle's brain for any tips on how to get Corey out in their morning meeting.

"I think there's a little brotherly love there, and I can't blame him for it," said Mariners starter Marco Gonzales, who got Corey to ground out in his first at-bat. "He didn't give away any secrets. He just said he built that swing and he's proud of it.

"So I took that as, 'All right, I better bring my stuff today,'" Gonzales said with a smile. "But when he grounded out, 'Seag' threw me the ball and I told him, 'I'm sorry,' and he just kind of smirked and laughed and said, 'It's all right.'"

Tweet from @Dodgers: Little bro vs. big bro. #DodgersST pic.twitter.com/F44Tfxct52

Kyle wore the nickname "Corey's brother" on his jersey during Players Weekend last season and sings the praises of his younger sibling every chance he gets, while Corey regards his older brother as a role model and someone he's looked up to his entire life.

Which made it odd, Corey acknowledged, to look over and see his big brother striding to the plate in the first inning.

"It's hard to think about. It's him, you've been around him your whole life and watched him play a ton," Corey said. "It's still weird. You still feel like a fan in the stands watching him. It was a really cool moment."

Kyle, 30, was a 2014 All-Star for Seattle and has been a fixture at third base for the past 6 1/2 seasons. But Corey has already been to two All-Star Games for the Dodgers, won the 2016 NL Rookie of the Year Award and played in 26 more postseason games -- including the World Series at age 23.

"It's been pretty cool just getting to work with him and watching how he's progressed over the years," Kyle said. "He's doing everything right and he's doing really good."

The Mariners and Dodgers have played each other in previous springs, but one of the two brothers always happened to have the day off when their teams aligned -- until Sunday.

It won't be long before they square off again. The Mariners host the Dodgers in a three-game Interleague series on Aug. 17-19. The Seagers' parents didn't make the trip to Arizona, but they will be at Safeco Field for that gathering.

"That one's already on the schedule," Corey said. "They'll be there for sure."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001. Listen to his podcast.

Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Dodgers, Kyle Seager, Corey Seager

Injuries clear playing time for Ford at 1B

Rule 5 draftee stepping up while Healy, Vogelbach sidelined
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

PEORIA, Ariz. -- When the Mariners selected Mike Ford from the Yankees in the Rule 5 Draft in December, they wanted to give the former Princeton University standout a good look to see where he might fit.

With Ryon Healy acquired to handle the everyday first-base duties, the Mariners even had Ford come to Arizona at the start of February to do outfield work for several weeks -- in addition to having him tag along with Dee Gordon in Miami earlier this offseason for private workouts with outfield coach Chris Prieto -- with the hope of expanding his opportunities.

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- When the Mariners selected Mike Ford from the Yankees in the Rule 5 Draft in December, they wanted to give the former Princeton University standout a good look to see where he might fit.

With Ryon Healy acquired to handle the everyday first-base duties, the Mariners even had Ford come to Arizona at the start of February to do outfield work for several weeks -- in addition to having him tag along with Dee Gordon in Miami earlier this offseason for private workouts with outfield coach Chris Prieto -- with the hope of expanding his opportunities.

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That outfield experiment ended quickly when Healy needed surgery to remove a bone spur from his right hand, and it was further shelved when Daniel Vogelbach was hit in the foot by a pitch in the Cactus League opener Friday and will be sidelined for at least three or four days.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Suddenly, Ford is more than a guy getting a look. He's the only healthy first baseman on the 40-man roster and sharing time with veteran non-roster invitee Matt Hague.

Young prospect Evan White, who isn't even in big league camp after playing just 14 games for Class A Short-Season Everett after being drafted in the first round last year, also was called over from the Minor League mini-camp to get some experience.

White ranked No. 2 Mariners prospect for 2018

Ford has played in Seattle's first three Cactus League games and was 0-for-6 with a hit by pitch until doubling off the wall in left-center in his final at-bat in the fifth inning of Sundays' 2-0 win over the Dodgers.

"He was going to play a lot anyway," manager Scott Servais said. "We'll try to be smart, day on, day off, get him some DH days and get him going. He's trying a little hard. He wants to impress everybody right out of the chute. But we like him. We like his swing. He just needs some reps and he'll be fine."

Video: LAD@SEA: Dipoto discusses Ford at Spring Training

Though Ford has played only 25 games above the Double-A level, the Mariners plucked him from the Yankees because they like his bat and plate discipline. The 6-foot, 225-pounder hit .270 with 20 home runs and 86 RBIs last year for Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. But what really jumped out was his .404 on-base percentage with 94 walks and just 72 strikeouts.

"I've always had a decent eye for the ball, but it's kind of been an adjustment mentally, not swinging at anything fringy at this point," Ford said. "Just let it go by. I can't do anything with it anyway, so it's a coin flip. Let it go and see if he calls a ball."

Mariners Spring Training info

Servais knows Ford well, as the 25-year-old played on the same Princeton team as Servais' son, and notes he's the rare player who has succeeded as an undrafted free agent out of college.

"There's nobody that saw Mike Ford play more than I did for two years in college," Servais said. "Mike was the best hitter on the team. He hit three-hole and pitched on Sundays. I think the reason he wasn't drafted, a lot of people thought he's an Ivy League kid and most of those guys go all four of their years and sign after their senior year.

"He did not get drafted his junior year, and he went off to Cape Cod and lit it up for about two weeks. I know the Mariners were one of the teams that were very aggressive in trying to sign him and offered him a pretty significant signing bonus, numbers I'd never heard of, and it didn't happen.

"Normally, those guys after the Draft, they might get $5,000, $10,000, maybe $20,000. But the Yankees were very aggressive with the start he'd had up in the Cape, and they gave him a shot. He took it and ran with it."

Ford moved quickly through the Yankees' system and now will get a shot with Seattle. He went back to Princeton over two offseasons to finish his degree in history, but is looking to make more of the present with the Mariners.

"The Yankees were great," Ford said, "but I see this as a bigger opportunity. For them to select me and everything says they think I can possibly fit, so it's a nice feeling."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Mike Ford

Whalen, Moll among top prospect performers

MLB.com

The first weekend of Spring Training came to an end on Sunday with a number of prospects shining in Grapefruit and Cactus League action. Houston fans, in particular, were treated to a glimpse of the future as the club's No. 2 prospect (16th overall), Kyle Tucker, hit a three-run homer in the Astros' 7-3 win vs. the Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla.

Tucker, 20, is in big league camp for the first time this spring. Last season, he hit .274 with 33 doubles, five triples, 25 homers, 90 RBIs and 21 stolen bases in 120 games between Class A Advanced Buies Creek and Double-A Corpus Christi.

The first weekend of Spring Training came to an end on Sunday with a number of prospects shining in Grapefruit and Cactus League action. Houston fans, in particular, were treated to a glimpse of the future as the club's No. 2 prospect (16th overall), Kyle Tucker, hit a three-run homer in the Astros' 7-3 win vs. the Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla.

Tucker, 20, is in big league camp for the first time this spring. Last season, he hit .274 with 33 doubles, five triples, 25 homers, 90 RBIs and 21 stolen bases in 120 games between Class A Advanced Buies Creek and Double-A Corpus Christi.

Fellow prospect J.D. Davis -- Houston's No. 9 -- also contributed to the victory, starting at third and batting 2-for-3 with a double, a run scored and two RBIs. Davis' first-inning RBI single and Tucker's homer combined to give the Astros an early 4-0 lead.

Video: HOU@STL: Davis plates Sierra with a double to the gap

Below is a look at how the rest of the game's biggest prospects performed on Sunday:

Minnesota's No. 19 prospect Mitch Garver clubbed a two-run homer in the Twins' 5-4 win against the Rays at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Garver is the front-runner to win the backup catcher role behind starter Jason Castro.

Video: TB@MIN: Garver launches a two-run homer to left

"Mitch is looking for situations to turn on more balls," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He's got power we didn't see much of last year. He's trying to find the right times to take his shots."

Right-hander Zack Littell, the Twins' No. 15 prospect, also impressed with two perfect innings of relief to earn his first Spring Training save. Littell struck out three of the six batters he faced.

• The Yankees' Gleyber Torres, rated No. 5 overall, doubled in his first at-bat against the Phillies on Sunday. Torres is working his way back from season-ending Tommy John surgery. Friday's spring exhibition opener marked his first game action in eight months as he competes to be New York's primary second baseman.

Video: NYY@PHI: Torres lines a double to left in the 1st

• Miami's top two prospects, outfielders Lewis Brinson and Monte Harrison, impressed on Sunday with strong performances in the Marlins' 10-3 loss to the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Brinson and Harrison each batted 1-for-2. Harrison, starting at designated hitter, hit an RBI double in the fourth inning, while Brinson reached base twice on a hit-by-pitch and a single. Both players were acquired by Miami in the Christian Yelich deal.

Video: MIA@NYM: Harrison plates Anderson with a double

Baseball's No. 32 prospect A.J. Puk was sharp in his spring debut, pitching two scoreless innings with one strikeout for the A's against the Royals. Puk is a candidate to fill out Oakland's big league rotation, but he's likely to start the year with a promotion to Triple-A Nashville. He went 6-10 with a 4.03 ERA through 27 games (24 starts) between Class A Advanced Stockton and Double-A Midland.

• Pirates second baseman Kevin Kramer, Pittsburgh's No. 9 prospect, put his team on the board with a three-run home run in the second inning of an 8-8 draw against the Tigers on Sunday. Kramer, 24, is coming off a strong Minor League campaign; he hit .297/.380/.500 with six home runs and 17 doubles over 53 games for Double-A Altoona last season despite missing time with a fractured right hand.

Mariners No. 21 prospect Rob Whalen pitched two scoreless innings against the Dodgers on Sunday. The right-hander allowed one hit and one walk and struck out three batters, including Corey Seager and Justin Turner. Left-hander Sam Moll, the club's No. 26 prospect, also pitched a perfect ninth inning, earning the save in the 2-0 victory.

Video: LAD@SEA: Whalen whiffs Toles to start the 5th

• Giants prospect Steven Duggar hit a two-run homer in his club's 12-10 loss to the Cubs. The The 24-year-old is competing with free-agent acquisition Austin Jackson to be San Francisco's everyday center fielder.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Gordon passes first test in CF with flying colors

Former infielder makes first four putouts in center; Leake solid in debut; Romine comes through Saturday
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

PEORIA, Ariz. -- After not getting any defensive opportunities in his three-inning debut Friday, newly converted Mariners center fielder Dee Gordon was tested early and often at his new position in Saturday's 5-3 loss to the White Sox.

And Gordon, the two-time National League Gold Glove Award-winning second baseman, passed his initial challenge with flying colors, flawlessly handling four fly balls -- one in each frame of his four-inning stint -- and running down two drives at the warning track.

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- After not getting any defensive opportunities in his three-inning debut Friday, newly converted Mariners center fielder Dee Gordon was tested early and often at his new position in Saturday's 5-3 loss to the White Sox.

And Gordon, the two-time National League Gold Glove Award-winning second baseman, passed his initial challenge with flying colors, flawlessly handling four fly balls -- one in each frame of his four-inning stint -- and running down two drives at the warning track.

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:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Gordon has been working hard at the transition from infielder in workouts since being acquired from the Marlins in early December, but acknowledged it was different playing the position in front of a crowd of 5,107 with a bright sun and breeze adding to the challenge.

"It was different," he said, "because if I drop it, everybody knows I dropped it."

Gordon's toughest play was a deep shot to the right-center gap in the third by Tyler Saladino that he hauled in at the wall, covering significant ground with ease.

Video: CWS@SEA: Gordon makes catch at the warning track

Clearly speed will not be an issue with Gordon, who has led the Major Leagues in stolen bases three of the past four years. But the 29-year-old had never played outfield at the professional level until this spring and the experiment is still just two games -- seven innings total -- old.

"I'm very happy to get it out of the way," Gordon said. "It was really hostile out there, probably the toughest day to be out there. It was good just to get out and catch some fly balls.

"Now ya'll can let me just be an outfielder and I don't have to answer questions about catching fly balls," he added, with a smile.

Reminded that he hadn't made a tough throw yet, Gordon laughed.

"Oh yeah, I forget about that part," he said. "Well, I'll see ya'll soon."

Gordon flashed his quickness at the plate as well, leading off the game with a swinging bunt on a ball that landed between the mound and home and didn't even draw a throw from White Sox pitches Hector Santiago.

Video: CWS@SEA: Gordon collects infield single in the 1st

Gordon saw starting pitcher Mike Leake at his locker postgame and gave the veteran right-hander a hug, thanking him for getting him his first fly ball, an easy fly to shallow center in the first and he also ran down a shot in front of the track in dead center by Welington Castillo leading off the second.

"I look forward to him being in center, that's for sure," Leake said. "He's got speed, he's got all the tools a center fielder needs, really. And when you have a guy like that on your team, it's a lethal one-holer. You've got a guy that can beat out choppers that barely get past the cut of the grass. He can do things that most people can't do."

Leake impressive in his debut

The Mariners are counting on Leake to be a solid No. 3 starter, and he got off to a strong spring start with two scoreless innings, with one hit allowed and no walks or strikeouts.

Video: CWS@SEA: Leake discusses his Spring Training debut

The 30-year-old went 3-1 with a 2.53 ERA in five starts after being acquired from the Cardinals last August and said he's encouraged by his early impression in camp.

"It's a good group of guys that make it comfortable to be here and hopefully that comfort level can translate to a tenacious attitude out there," Leake said.

Worth noting

• Outfielder Braden Bishop, the Mariners' No. 5-ranked prospect, got Seattle on the board with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the fourth inning and veteran utility man Andrew Romine followed with a two-run single to provide the early offense in Saturday's game.

Video: CWS@SEA: Romine lines a two-run single to center

• Evan White, last year's first-round Draft pick, isn't in Major League camp. But with Ryon Healy and Daniel Vogelbach sidelined by injuries, the 21-year-old was called over from the Minor League mini-camp to fill in as a backup Saturday and went 0-for-2 with a strikeout. White, Seattle's No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, flashed his outstanding glove with a nice stretch and pick of a low throw from third baseman Zach Shank in the sixth inning.

Video: CWS@SEA: White scoops a low throw in the 7th

• Reliever Nick Rumbelow was removed from the game after getting two outs in the ninth due to a cut on his thumb. The right-hander, acquired by trade from the Yankees, gave up three hits and a run before trainer Rob Nodine and Servais came to the mound and took him out.

Up next

Marco Gonzales makes his Cactus League debut in Sunday's 12:10 p.m. PT game against the Dodgers at Peoria Stadium. Second baseman Robinson Cano and designated hitter Nelson Cruz are also expected to see their first action of the spring, while Edwin Diaz, Juan Nicasio, Rob Whalen and Chasen Bradford are among the pitchers expected to come out of the bullpen. The game will be broadcast live on MLB.TV.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Braden Bishop, Dee Gordon, Mike Leake, Andrew Romine

Haniger taking it slow with sore right hand

Outfielder "not too worried" about soreness; Vogelbach in walking boot after HBP Friday
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The early injury bug continued to bite the Mariners on Saturday as right fielder Mitch Haniger was ruled out for several days to rest a sore hand, while first baseman Daniel Vogelbach had his foot in a walking boot after being hit by a pitch in Friday's Cactus League opener.

Haniger's situation is believed to be minor, as he said his right hand has been tender off and on over the last month after changing the grip on his swing over the offseason, but the team is being extra cautious after first baseman Ryon Healy was sidelined four to six weeks following surgery to remove bone spurs from his right hand.

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- The early injury bug continued to bite the Mariners on Saturday as right fielder Mitch Haniger was ruled out for several days to rest a sore hand, while first baseman Daniel Vogelbach had his foot in a walking boot after being hit by a pitch in Friday's Cactus League opener.

Haniger's situation is believed to be minor, as he said his right hand has been tender off and on over the last month after changing the grip on his swing over the offseason, but the team is being extra cautious after first baseman Ryon Healy was sidelined four to six weeks following surgery to remove bone spurs from his right hand.

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Starting pitcher Erasmo Ramirez had already been shut down from throwing for two weeks after feeling some tightness in his right lat muscle in the first few days of camp, which wasn't a good start for a club that went through a Major League-record-tying 40 pitchers last season.

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Vogelbach's status is more up in the air. He took a ball off his right foot in the first inning of Friday's 3-2 win over the Padres, but stayed in the game and doubled in the sixth inning before being lifted for a pinch-runner.

The 25-year-old was still maneuvering on a crutch with a walking boot while awaiting results on an MRI test on Saturday afternoon.

"Once I took my shoe off, it got real sore and this morning it was really stiff," Vogelbach said. "Hopefully, it's just a bruise and I'll be back on the field sooner than later."

Manager Scott Servais said he expected Vogelbach to miss at least a few days.

With Healy questionable to be ready by Opening Day, Vogelbach and Rule 5 Draft pickup Mike Ford were expected to split the majority of work this spring at first base. The club also has veteran Matt Hague in camp on a non-roster invitation.

Healy will have the stitches removed from his hand soon and could be out on the field doing defensive work in about five or six days, Servais said. But there's no firm timeline on when he might be able to start swinging a bat.

Servais acknowledged that Healy's injury is part of the reason for being so careful with Haniger's sore hand.

"It's not a big deal, but we want to be really cautious on that one," Servais said. "You might not see him in there for four or five days. It's nothing serious. But with the Healy thing and everything else, it's probably me as much as anybody, let's just take it easy, take it slow."

Haniger took batting practice every day prior to Friday, when he continued to stand in the cage but just tracked pitches instead of swinging, per doctor's orders.

"I feel like it's 95 percent, but they said back off a couple days and we'll be good to go," Haniger said. "So it's nothing to crazy. Just some inflammation."

Haniger hit .282/.352/.491 with 16 home runs and 47 RBIs in 96 games last year as a rookie, but missed considerable time with a strained oblique and then facial lacerations after getting hit by a pitch. The 27-year-old is expected to play a big role in the Mariners' outfield again this season and is confident his sore hand is just part of the normal early-camp soreness.

"Early in the offseason, your hands and wrists always bug you a little," he said. "That's why I start hitting early in November and build up through it. It's very common to feel something in the offseason when you start swinging at a high velocity when you haven't been swinging for two months. This one kind of came and went, but I'm not too worried about it. It's no big deal."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Mitch Haniger, Daniel Vogelbach

Moore putting rookie struggles in rearview mirror

Righty looks sharp in spring debut, throws two scoreless innings
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Andrew Moore was rushed to the big leagues last year as a 23-year-old rookie when the Mariners' rotation was hit hard by injuries. But the former Oregon State standout learned from some rocky times and got off to a nice start on the new campaign Friday with two hitless innings in Seattle's 3-2 win over the Padres in the Cactus League opener.

Moore and Ariel Miranda, who could find themselves competing for the Mariners' fifth rotation spot if Erasmo Ramirez isn't ready for the regular season, both pitched a pair of innings in the chilly spring debut at Peoria Stadium.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Andrew Moore was rushed to the big leagues last year as a 23-year-old rookie when the Mariners' rotation was hit hard by injuries. But the former Oregon State standout learned from some rocky times and got off to a nice start on the new campaign Friday with two hitless innings in Seattle's 3-2 win over the Padres in the Cactus League opener.

Moore and Ariel Miranda, who could find themselves competing for the Mariners' fifth rotation spot if Erasmo Ramirez isn't ready for the regular season, both pitched a pair of innings in the chilly spring debut at Peoria Stadium.

Mariners' Spring Training information

Miranda, working on improving his slider to help keep hitters off his fastball this season, allowed two hits and a run in two innings before Moore fired two scoreless innings with just a walk and three strikeouts.

Moore says he learned a lot from his rookie season, when he went 1-5 with a 5.34 ERA in 11 outings, and has worked hard on making his release point more consistent, getting back to his bread-and-butter changeup and focusing on staying ahead of hitters so they can't just sit on his fastball.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"That was a tough stretch for me," Moore said. "Going through that and seeing I could fight through it and having some success in September was nice. I'll hopefully build on that. At the time, that was tough. It was good making some adjustments and seeing positive results from it, so hopefully, I keep that going."

Moore also learned enough to know he can't get caught up now in the roster battle after Ramirez strained the lat muscle in his right side in the first week of camp.

"There are a lot of good arms here," Moore said. "I'm just trying to lock in and work on my stuff and try to be ready for Day 1. Whatever they decide. It just comes down to opportunity at that point. Whoever is pitching well is going to get a chance to stay up. It's just making the most when you do get the opportunity."

Top of the order excels

Though he didn't get any defensive action in his three-inning debut in center field, new leadoff hitter Dee Gordon wasted no time making an impression as he doubled to open the game and eventually scored on a throwing error in Seattle's two-run first.

Video: SEA@SD: Gordan reaches home on errant throw

Kyle Seager followed with an RBI double in a 2-for-2 day.

"The top of the lineup coming out swinging the bats like they did was awesome to see," manager Scott Servais said. "Dee Gordon is going to be fun watching all year, and Seager was right on top of some balls early on."

Special caps resonate for Motter

The Mariners -- like all Major League teams -- wore special hats on Friday commemorating last week's 17 shooting victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla.

Seattle utility infielder Taylor Motter grew up just 30 minutes from Parkland and his Palm Beach Gardens high school team played at Stoneman Douglas in a regional tournament his junior season. He said wearing the Stoneman Douglas cap carried some extra significance.

Video: Baseball pays tribute to Stoneman Douglas victims

"It means more than even just the school," Motter said. "It means more of what is going on in the world right now and what ways can we control this craziness of what's going on. I feel terrible for the families and friends and everybody that lost people down there. With it being so close to home, it kind of gets to you a little more. It shouldn't happen like that."

The caps worn by the MLB players will be autographed and then auctioned to benefit the official victims fund via the Broward Education Foundation.

Worth noting

Nelson Cruz was back with the Mariners on Friday after being sent home the day before due to illness. But Cruz likely won't get into Cactus League play for a few days, along with Robinson Cano, as Servais said he'll ease the two veterans into the long spring slowly.

Mitch Haniger will also be held back from game action for a few days due to a minor ailment, and fellow outfielder Guillermo Heredia is also being brought along cautiously as he returns from October shoulder surgery.

Felix Hernandez threw his first live batting practice Friday and is on target to make his Cactus League debut Monday against the Cubs at Mesa.

• Six Mariners pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts in Friday's win, with Dan Altavilla closing things out by striking out the side in order in the ninth.

Up next

Mike Leake gets the start for Seattle in the club's 12:10 p.m. PT Cactus League game Saturday against the White Sox at Peoria Stadium, with Chase De Jong also scheduled to pitch two innings. Casey Lawrence, Nick Rumbelow and non-roster invitees Johendi Jiminian and Mike Morin are also expected to pitch. The game can be seen on MLB.TV.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners

M's Top 30 led by Lewis, features 20 new names

MLB.com

At this time last year, Jerry Dipoto had already executed 36 trades since taking over as the Seattle Mariners' general manager in September 2015.

M's Top 30 Prospects list

At this time last year, Jerry Dipoto had already executed 36 trades since taking over as the Seattle Mariners' general manager in September 2015.

M's Top 30 Prospects list

That number is now up to 62, after a season in which Dipoto continued his trend of trading prospects either for impact big leaguers or 40-man roster depth. As a result of such deals, the Mariners parted ways with nine players from their 2017 preseason Top 30 list -- a group that includes Tyler O'Neill, their No. 2 prospect last year, Nick Neidert (No. 3), Brayan Hernandez (No. 7), Drew Jackson (No. 12) and Thyago Vieira (No. 13).

:: Team Top 30 Prospects lists ::

Needless to say, the Mariners' Top 30 prospects list has a much different look ahead of the 2018 season.

Though headlined by 2016 first-rounder and No. 70 overall prospect Kyle Lewis for a second straight year, the latest Mariners Top 30 list otherwise features 20 new names. Many of those players stand to contribute in the Major Leagues relatively soon, too, as exactly half of the club's Top 30 prospects have a 2018 estimated time of arrival.

But even with Trader Jerry's penchant for dealing young talent, Seattle's farm system remains largely homegrown, with 21 players who entered the system either via the Draft or as an international signee. More specifically, the club's top six prospects are all homegrown, as are eight in their top 10, seven of whom are products of the Draft.

Biggest jump/fall
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2017 preseason list to the 2018 preseason list.

Jump: Art Warren, RHP (2017: NR | 2018: 8)
Fall: Bryson Brigman, 2B/SS (2017: 16 | 2018: 29)

Best tools
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.

Hit: 55 - Eric Filia (Evan White, Mike Ford, Joseph Rosa)
Power: 60 - Kyle Lewis
Run: 70 - Ian Miller
Arm: 70 - Ronald Rosario
Defense: 70 - Evan White
Fastball: 70 - Art Warren
Curveball: 55 - Nick Rumbelow
Slider: 60 - Wyatt Mills
Changeup: 60 - Sam Carlson
Control: 55 - Sam Carlson

How they were built
Draft: 15
International: 6
Trade: 7
Free agent: 0
Rule 5: 2

Breakdown by ETA
2018: 15
2019: 5
2020: 7
2021: 1
2022: 2

Breakdown by position
C: 0
1B: 3
2B: 2
3B: 1
SS: 2
OF: 9
RHP: 10
LHP: 3

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Seattle Mariners

Gordon has worked hard to find right glove

All-Star infielder gets his first crack in center during Mariners' spring opener
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Dee Gordon checked out some of the new gloves that representatives from Wilson were showing Friday morning in the Mariners' clubhouse, but Seattle's new center fielder had already done his offseason shopping for his new leather.

Upon learning that he was being transitioned to the outfield after being acquired from the Marlins in early December, Gordon's first stop upon returning home to Miami was at a Dick's Sporting Goods to find an outfield glove so he could get used to the larger size and deeper pocket.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Dee Gordon checked out some of the new gloves that representatives from Wilson were showing Friday morning in the Mariners' clubhouse, but Seattle's new center fielder had already done his offseason shopping for his new leather.

Upon learning that he was being transitioned to the outfield after being acquired from the Marlins in early December, Gordon's first stop upon returning home to Miami was at a Dick's Sporting Goods to find an outfield glove so he could get used to the larger size and deeper pocket.

Mariners' Spring Training information

Gordon was a two-time National League All-Star second baseman -- with the Dodgers in 2014 and Marlins in '15 -- but had never played outfield in a professional game until the Mariners' Cactus League opener against the Padres.

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The 29-year-old knew he'd need to work on his footwork, his routes, making plays at the wall and the longer throws required this winter. But he also knew he needed the right glove for the job.

"I went looking for one immediately," Gordon said. "I asked my agent if they were going to send me one, but that was going to take too long and I needed to get out on a baseball field and get started."

Wilson soon delivered two more customized outfield gloves for Gordon, and he's been breaking them in ever since. The seven-year Major League veteran says it takes him about a week to sufficiently break in a mitt to the point where it's comfortable.

Video: Gordon discusses how he is preparing for new position

How many gloves does he own?

"A lot," he said. "A lot. I have five here with me now. I've got one glove that is my baby, that I'll probably use every day. And I'm breaking in my other outfield gloves now."

Gordon said he's been hooked up with Wilson since he broke into pro ball in 2008. Other Mariners using Wilson gloves are Robinson Cano, Mike Leake, Ariel Miranda, Dan Altavilla, Rob Whalen, Tuffy Gosewisch and Andrew Aplin.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Dee Gordon

Mariners' dark-horse hopefuls to start auditions

Ford, Rumbelow, Hague lead crop of contenders for roster
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

PEORIA, Ariz. -- For guys like Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz, the first game of Cactus League play is a blip on the radar, a chance to get a couple of innings, an at-bat or two, and begin the monthlong buildup to the regular season.

But for those fighting for jobs, like Seattle first baseman Mike Ford, this is the real deal. And it starts Friday when the Mariners face the Padres in a 12:10 p.m. PT game at Peoria Stadium.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- For guys like Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz, the first game of Cactus League play is a blip on the radar, a chance to get a couple of innings, an at-bat or two, and begin the monthlong buildup to the regular season.

But for those fighting for jobs, like Seattle first baseman Mike Ford, this is the real deal. And it starts Friday when the Mariners face the Padres in a 12:10 p.m. PT game at Peoria Stadium.

Mariners Spring Training info | Tickets

"This is like the regular season is starting right now for the guys who are trying to crack the team," said Ford, a Rule 5 Draft pickup from the Yankees. "That's how I look at it, and that's how I'll take it."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Left-hander Ariel Miranda will start Friday's opener for the Mariners, followed by fellow starting candidate Andrew Moore. Both are expected to pitch about two innings and could be competing for the fifth starting role if right-hander Erasmo Ramirez's strained lat lingers all spring.

Here are three other dark-horse candidates for a spot on Seattle's 25-man roster who'll be among those worth watching this spring:

Ford: The 25-year-old's chances took a dramatic rise when Ryon Healy required surgery to remove a bone spur from his right hand on Feb. 14.

As a Rule 5 selection, the Princeton University product needs to either make Seattle's roster for the entire season or be offered back to the Yankees. Healy's injury could buy the Mariners some time to see how Ford fares at the Major League level, which is a large unknown given he's played only 25 games at Triple-A.

The Mariners love Ford's strike-zone discipline, high on-base percentage and power potential, but he'll need to show all of that as well as the ability to handle first base defensively to beat out Daniel Vogelbach, who has a much longer track record at Triple-A.

Healy could make it all moot if he's able to come back in time, but that seems like a tough goal since his time frame is to be cleared right around Opening Day. Given Healy hasn't been able to hit much this offseason due to his hand issue, he'll need to regain his timing, and the Mariners won't want to rush him back and risk a setback.

Reliever Nick Rumbelow: The final bullpen spot or two figure to be hotly contested, and the 26-year-old right-hander acquired by trade from the Yankees has looked impressive early in a camp filled with versatile power arms.

Rumbelow isn't physically imposing -- listed at 6-foot, 190 pounds -- but he brings some heat and racked up 45 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings in 25 games last year on the Yankees' Triple-A and Double-A clubs after returning from Tommy John surgery.

He pitched 17 games for the Yankees in '15 before hurting the elbow and looks like a guy who can help a Major League bullpen again if given the chance.

"I really do feel great," Rumbelow said. "They say you rebound even better in the second year [after Tommy John]. I'm in optimal health and shape right now and just looking to go forward."

Video: Dipoto joins The Wheelhouse to discuss Rumbelow

First baseman Matt Hague: The Mariners have two rookie prospects in Ford and Vogelbach who figure to have first crack at replacing Healy if needed. But the 32-year-old Hague is a non-roster invitee who has more experience than either and is coming off a strong season for the Twins' Triple-A Rochester club.

Hague is a local product who played for Kentwood High and the University of Washington and jumped at the opportunity with his hometown team after stints with the Pirates and Blue Jays. Hague lives in New Orleans now, but his parents and numerous relatives remain in the Covington area southeast of Seattle.

"It's one of those surreal moments, signing the contract," Hague said. "Once I found out the Mariners were interested, I was absolutely ready. And I know my family was."

Hague last played in the Majors in 2015, then spent a year in Japan before hitting .297/.373/.416 with 10 homers and 65 RBIs in 136 games for Rochester last year.

"I don't know what's going to happen, but you want to go out and impress them and show 'em what you've got," he said. "The cards will fall where they fall."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Mike Ford, Matt Hague, Nick Rumbelow

Whalen back in Mariners camp with new outlook

Righty prospect stepped away from game in '17 to battle depression
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

PEORIA, Ariz. -- When you're living what is supposed to be your dream, but instead feels like a nightmare, something is wrong.

Which is why Rob Whalen walked away from baseball last year, risking his career to get a fresh start on life.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- When you're living what is supposed to be your dream, but instead feels like a nightmare, something is wrong.

Which is why Rob Whalen walked away from baseball last year, risking his career to get a fresh start on life.

It's not easy to talk about mental health issues like depression and anxiety, but the 24-year-old Mariners pitching prospect isn't worried about easy anymore. He's worried about young athletes like Tyler Hilinski, the quarterback at Washington State who committed suicide in January.

"I didn't know the kid, but I felt so bad for his family and all that because I felt like that for a time," Whalen said. "I felt alone. I just isolated myself. I was in that bubble for a while, and it sucks to see that. I was fortunate enough to escape it. I got help before it came that far down the road."

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Whalen stepped back from a world he said was closing in on him last July while he was pitching for Triple-A Tacoma, got help and now is attacking life -- and his baseball career -- with a new frame of mind.

And rather than hide from his personal challenges, Whalen wants to let anyone else who deals with depression or anxiety know they're not alone.

"If I touch one person, it's a win for me," he said. "I'm not trying to get pity from anybody. It's my story, and I just want to share it and help somebody else."

Whalen acknowledges he doesn't know the details of Hilinski's situation, but understands how hard it is for young men, particularly in the world of sports, to admit they need help and reach out due to pride or fear of being judged.

"We need to change the stigma that you're fragile if you talk about it, because that's not the case," he said. "We need to continue the conversation."

Whalen said finding the right counselor outside of baseball to open up to about his problems was the first step out of his darkness.

"It's almost like when you're an alcoholic, you have to admit you're an alcoholic," he said. "For me it was, 'OK, let me say these words out loud of how I've been feeling inside for so long,' feeling if I did say it, people would think I'm crazy.

"I was 23, I'd gotten to the big leagues and had a great life. There wasn't a lot to be upset about, but I was just miserable. So it was hard to understand it myself, let alone explain it to others."

Whalen, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Mariners' No. 17 prospect, pitched two games for Seattle last year and started on May 27 at Fenway Park, throwing 5 1/3 innings in a 6-0 loss. But after being acquired from the Braves the previous offseason, he acknowledges now that his mental state wasn't good all year and he came to camp in poor physical condition.

"It's hard to get in shape and be motivated to drive yourself when you don't even want to get out of bed, let alone go work out for three hours," he said. "So I didn't put myself in good position to succeed last year. This year I did. I've dropped 20 pounds, I'm eating better, I feel great, I'm healthy and I think it's a good reset for me."

Whalen said he's dealt with anxiety and depression since his teen years in Florida, though he didn't really understand or confide in anyone about it until talking briefly to a psychologist while with the Mets in 2015.

But he soon was traded to the Braves, then again to the Mariners last winter, and he tried pushing the issues aside while climbing the baseball ladder. He started five games for Atlanta at age 22 and ignored the mounting internal pressures until his struggles reached a breaking point last year.

Whalen said he couldn't concentrate during games, at times feeling "the crowd closing in on me" and finally called it quits after he went back to his hotel following another rough outing in Reno.

"The start didn't go well, I felt like I couldn't breathe," he said. "I just packed my stuff and booked my flight. I was breaking down in my hotel room. I couldn't believe what I just did, but I had to do it."

The Mariners put Whalen on the restricted list, and once he acknowledged out loud the need for help, he found it. Now he says, regardless of whether he makes it back to the big leagues, he knows he can say he returned to the game and gave it his best shot.

And so far this spring, the Mariners have liked what they've seen from the young right-hander. General manager Jerry Dipoto said Whalen has been one of the pleasant surprises in the first week of camp, and manager Scott Servais pulled the youngster aside for some personal praise after his first throwing session.

"I'm probably as proud of him as I am of any of our players," Servais said. "Guys grow up. They mature. He looks different, he's lost some weight. He's had a life change. He stepped back and made some adjustments, not just physically, but mentally.

"It's nice to see the smile back on his face."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Rob Whalen