Felix gets first start today … as does Ketel Marte

Felix Hernandez makes his Cactus League debut in Glendale this afternoon against a pretty interesting Dodgers lineup. You’ve got Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier at the top. And, yep, former Mariner Chone Figgins batting ninth and playing second base.

Felix is only slated for two innings, so if all goes well he won’t even get to Figgins. But we’ll see how things roll.

After Monday’s split-squad day, the Mariners are going with quite a few backups today, including Minor League callup Ketel Marte, a 20-year-old second baseman who hit .304 at Class-A Clinton last year.

“Our guys have been going at it hard and a lot of those guys have played two or three days in a row,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “We still have a long way to go. We have to be smart about how we do this and make sure they’re fresh and building toward the season. So we want to keep their legs fresh. I thought it was a good day to kind of refresh them a little bit.”

As for Marte, who was one of a large group of Minor Leaguers who also saw a little time in Monday’s split-squad game against the Rockies?

“I think it’s good when you can bring kids over from the Minor League camp and give them a shot in the arm,” McClendon said. “It’s good for the organization and he’s a talented young man that deserves an opportunity to get a look. I wouldn’t read too much into it, but I think it’s good for the organization when you can do that.”

McClendon said he was very impressed with all the youngsters he saw Monday.

“I think it speaks volumes about our organization as a whole and what we’ve got coming,” he said. “Any time you can reward those kids with a little big-league play, it’s a shot in the arm.”

Here’s the lineup that will start out against Dodgers reliever Brian Wilson, who is getting the start today.

Brad Miller SS
Kyle Seager 3B
Stefen Romero LF
Justin Smoak 1B
Logan Morrison DH
Cole Gillespie RF
James Jones CF
MIke Zunino C
Ketel Marte 2B

Felix Hernandez RHP

The 12:05 p.m. PT game will not be on radio. It will be available live to MLB.TV subscribers, and also shown free on a slight delay on the MLB Network starting at 1 p.m. PT.

What does McClendon want to see out of Hernandez today?

“Just stay healthy and get his work in,” McClendon said. “Just get ready.”

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