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Griffin to throw out first pitch in Mariners opener

Former head athletic trainer to be part of festivities planned at Safeco
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- Rick Griffin, who has retired after 35 years as the Mariners' head athletic trainer, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Seattle's Opening Night game on Thursday against the Indians.

Griffin stepped down from his position at the end of last season, though he still is helping out with some duties as a "Trainer Emeritus."

SEATTLE -- Rick Griffin, who has retired after 35 years as the Mariners' head athletic trainer, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Seattle's Opening Night game on Thursday against the Indians.

Griffin stepped down from his position at the end of last season, though he still is helping out with some duties as a "Trainer Emeritus."

Opening ceremonies will begin at 6:30 p.m. PT and will be streamed live on Mariners.com. Felix Hernandez, who is making his 10th consecutive Opening Day start, faces off against defending American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber in the 7:10 p.m. start.

The game is officially sold out, though some tickets could be put back on sale if they are returned in the last day.

The traditional first run around the bases by a Make-A-Wish child will be made by Makoa Saffery, a 9-year-old from Kingston, Wash., who is recovering from a bout with lymphoma that put his Little League career on hold last year.

There will be a moment of silence for former Mariners video coordinator Carl Hamilton, longtime international scout Wayne Norton and broadcasting legend Keith Jackson, who all passed away in the last year.

Video: Hot Stove addresses the passing of Carl Hamilton

Nelson Cruz will also receive his 2017 Silver Slugger Award during pregame ceremonies and new center fielder Dee Gordon will be honored with the Lou Brock Award for leading the National League with 60 stolen bases last year while with the Marlins.

Video: Johns on Nelson Cruz winning Silver Slugger Award

Safeco Field's gates will open at 4:40 p.m. PT and all fans will receive a 2018 magnetic schedule.

There are some new entry procedures being implemented for fans this year. Re-entry with the same ticket will no longer be allowed, so fans can't scan out and return later.

Fans are also encouraged to give themselves time to pass through bag check and metal detectors at all gates and oversized bags won't be allowed.

It will now be OK to bring in one sealed, clear plastic water bottle of 32 ounces or less per fan. Open containers or bottles containing other drinks are still prohibited.

Safeco Field has added two CLEAR Lanes to expedite entry at the home plate and left field gates, with free registration for those who sign up.

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

Seattle Mariners