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Maurer to make Cactus League debut on Monday

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Right-handed rookie Brandon Maurer, one of the Mariners' top young pitching prospects, will get his first shot at Cactus League play on Monday against the Angels after being held back slightly after getting drilled in the shin by a Kendrys Morales line drive in batting practice earlier this week.

Maurer, 22, was the Southern League Pitcher of the Year last season after going 9-2 with a 3.20 ERA for Double-A Jackson. He was held out of conditioning drills on Friday and Saturday, but said otherwise he's been doing all his normal throwing and threw a bullpen session as scheduled on Saturday.

As for meeting up with Morales' line drive back up the middle on one of the first batters he faced in live batting practice in his initial big league camp?

"That ball came back real quick," he said. "Morales is a big boy. But it's all good."

The 6-foot-5 Maurer, the Mariners' No. 10 prospect, said he took a shot off the same left shin last year while pitching for Jackson.

"Same thing, about an inch below," he said. "I have a nice little scar there. It was a big lefty, the same pitch, a two-seamer outside. He just got the bat out and, 'Whap.' It happens. It's part of the game."

Now that he's been introduced to Major League hitters, Maurer is ready to take the next step.

"I'm feeling good," he said. "I'm excited to get into a game and get that adrenaline going and face some hitters from a different team."

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