PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Mariners set their final 25-man roster on Friday, placing six players on the disabled list and sending seven to the Minor Leagues. And nobody was happier with the day's news than Dillon Overton, a 25-year-old lefty who made the final roster -- but still won't be
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Mariners set their final 25-man roster on Friday, placing six players on the disabled list and sending seven to the Minor Leagues. And nobody was happier with the day's news than Dillon Overton, a 25-year-old lefty who made the final roster -- but still won't be with the team on Opening Day on Monday in Houston.
Overton's wife is scheduled to have their first child on Tuesday in Eunice, Texas, about 45 minutes south of Dallas. He's flying to be with her on Saturday and will rejoin the team Thursday for the final game in Houston.
"This is one of the coolest things that's happened in my life," Overton said after hearing he'd made the team, "up until Tuesday when I'm having a baby. Then that baby coming into the world will be the coolest thing."
James Pazos, another rookie left-hander, also made the final roster, as did outfielder Guillermo Heredia as the last roster slots were settled. Overton officially will open the season on the 25-man roster, but could be placed on paternity leave for a couple days, though manager Scott Servais said nothing has been determined.
Right-handers Steve Cishek, Tony Zych, Shae Simmons and Rob Whalen were placed on the disabled list along with lefty starter Drew Smyly, who the team learned Friday will miss at least 6-8 weeks with a strained elbow. Infielder Shawn O'Malley also will open the year on the DL as he recovers from an appendectomy.
Outfielder Ben Gamel and catcher Tuffy Gosewisch were optioned to Triple-A Tacoma as the final two players on the 40-man roster to be sent down. Five other non-roster invitees were reassigned to the Minor Leagues -- right-hander Jonathan Aro, lefty Dean Kiekhefer, infielders Mike Freeman and Tyler Smith and catcher Nevin Ashley.
The biggest questions surrounded the bullpen and the Mariners wound up going with an eight-man group there to open the season. Pazos and Overton join veteran Marc Rzepczynski as the lefty relievers. Closer Edwin Diaz will be joined by veterans Nick Vincent, Evan Scribner and Casey Fien as well as Dan Altavilla on the right side.
The rest of the pitching staff will be starters Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, James Paxton, Yovani Gallardo and Ariel Miranda, who was recalled Friday to take Smyly's place.
The position group will be catchers Mike Zunino and Carlos Ruiz, first baseman Danny Valencia, second baseman Robinson Cano, shortstop Jean Segura, third baseman Kyle Seager, outfielders Jarrod Dyson, Leonys Martin, Mitch Haniger, Nelson Cruz and Heredia, plus utility man Taylor Motter.
Pazos, 25, was acquired from the Yankees in November and is a hard-throwing 230-pounder who has 18 innings of big-league experience over the past two seasons with a 5.40 ERA.
"It's definitely exciting," Pazos said. "My first Opening Day roster and this team feels like it's got something special going, so I'm excited to be a part of it."
Overton, another lefty, impressed the Mariners as a rotation candidate with strong starts in his last two outings and will get a chance to work now in relief. He also has limited Major League experience, pitching seven games (five starts) last year for the A's with an 11.47 ERA. But he went 13-5 with a 3.29 ERA in 21 games (20 starts) for Triple-A Nashville and put up a 2.65 ERA in 17 innings this spring.
"After what I went through last year in the big leagues, for them to put me on the Opening Day roster is a big deal," Overton said. "I was struggling a lot last year, not just physically, but emotionally. It was rough. But I finished the year on a good note and I took that into this Spring Training knowing I belonged up here. Everything worked out exactly like I wanted and it's awesome."
Heredia is another who battled his way onto the club with a strong camp as he played extremely well defensively and also batted .355 with nine doubles, a triple and 10 RBIs in 62 at-bats.
Servais said Heredia's right-handed bat, which complements lefty-hitting Jarrod Dyson in left field, played a big factor.
"We're going to give Dyson every opportunity to play every day, but he hasn't done it in the big leagues. And Heredia earned his way onto the team. The adjustments he made with the bat, he carried over the entire spring."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter [
@GregJohnsMLB]() and listen to his podcast.