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Revisiting Seattle's projected OD roster

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Just before Spring Training opened in mid-February, we were asked to go out on a limb and predict what the Mariners' 25-man roster would look like when camp breaks in late March. Well, here we are, with less than two weeks before Opening Day, and for the most part, the limb is still standing.

But there have been a couple of injuries and interesting changes that have affected the Mariners this spring, so here's an updated projection of how the final roster might shake out:

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Just before Spring Training opened in mid-February, we were asked to go out on a limb and predict what the Mariners' 25-man roster would look like when camp breaks in late March. Well, here we are, with less than two weeks before Opening Day, and for the most part, the limb is still standing.

But there have been a couple of injuries and interesting changes that have affected the Mariners this spring, so here's an updated projection of how the final roster might shake out:

Catcher (2): Mike Zunino, David Freitas
Whether Freitas or Mike Marjama will be the backup remains the biggest tossup in camp. Manager Scott Servais has said that decision will come right down to the end. I tabbed Marjama before camp started and am switching to Freitas now, only to be fair. Because let's be honest. This one is a pick 'em, and we're just guessing.

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First base (2): Daniel Vogelbach, Ryon Healy
Here's the first significant change. Prior to camp, it appeared to be Healy, hands down. But that was before his right hand became an issue. Surgery to remove a bone spur kept the 26-year-old sidelined until his Cactus League debut on Saturday. Vogelbach has been one of the bright lights of spring, playing much more relaxed and swinging the hottest stick in camp.

Video: SEA@COL: Vogelbach plates Seager with a single

The likelihood has increased that Vogelbach will start the season with the big club. Seattle could initially carry an extra first baseman and go with just four starting pitchers until mid-April due to the number of off-days in the first two weeks.

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Second base (1): Robinson Cano
Assuming his sore right hamstring really is just a minor issue, Cano remains the man.

Shortstop (1): Jean Segura
Another no-brainer, as the Hit Machine returned to Saturday's lineup after experiencing right hamstring tightness.

Third base (1): Kyle Seager
Mr. Dependable continues his Ironman run.

Designated hitter (1): Nelson Cruz
As long as his sore right quad heals as quickly as expected, this is another no-doubter. And Cruz continues working with the outfielders and could be used there in Interleague road games.

Utility (1): Andrew Romine
All three utility candidates -- Romine, Taylor Motter and Gordon Beckham -- have played very well this spring. Romine came in as the favorite because of his veteran leadership and versatility, and he has done nothing to diminish that, though a sore right shoulder could change things if it doesn't heal quickly. Beckham has hit extremely well all camp, and he was a longtime starter at second base for the White Sox, so he could be the logical fill-in if Cano's hamstring becomes a bigger issue. Motter also has his moments and can play anywhere, but he also has Minor League options.

Outfield (4): Mitch Haniger, Dee Gordon, Ichiro Suzuki, Guillermo Heredia
Half this deck has shuffled since my first prediction, as Ichiro was signed after Ben Gamel went down with a strained right oblique and Heredia far exceeded expectations in recovering from his right shoulder surgery in time to fill the fourth outfielder role.

Video: CWS@SEA: Ichiro draws his first spring walk in 4th

I initially had Gamel and waiver pickup Cameron Perkins filling those last two spots, but Perkins was among those sent to Minor League camp last week and Gamel will likely be sidelined until May.

Starting pitchers (4): James Paxton, Felix Hernandez, Mike Leake, Marco Gonzales
I initially included Erasmo Ramirez in the chosen five, but he strained his right lat muscle the first week of camp and is just now starting to throw again. The saving grace is having four off-days in the first 15 days of the season, which means the Mariners won't even need a fifth starter until April 17.

If Ramirez isn't ready by then, Ariel Miranda appears poised to grab that spot. Hernandez also needs to get healthy after enduring a bruised forearm on a wicked line drive, but he appears on pace to be ready sometime around the first weekend of the season.

Bullpen (8): Edwin Diaz, Juan Nicasio, Nick Vincent, David Phelps, Marc Rzepczynski, James Pazos, Dan Altavilla, Casey Lawrence
The only change here is adding Lawrence -- a non-roster invitee having a strong camp -- in place of Shawn Armstrong, who was designated for assignment and moved off the 40-man roster a week ago. Armstrong is still competing, as is Chasen Bradford, another right-hander. But Lawrence seems to have stepped up after Nick Rumbelow and Tony Zych ran into arm problems to put himself in prime position for the last spot in the 'pen, with Altavilla also locking down a berth with an impressive spring.

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

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