Cano to miss next two games; Maurer also sidelined

Cano, RobinsonMariners second baseman Robinson Cano, the biggest free-agent prize of the offseason, will miss the team’s next two Cactus League games after flying home to the Dominican Republic on Friday night.

“He’s taking care of some personal issues, which we knew about in advance,” manager Lloyd McClendon said.

Cano will miss games on Saturday and Sunday, then return Tuesday following the club’s off-day on Monday.

Cano, 31, missed four games last week following root canal surgery, but went 8-for-11 with a pair of doubles while playing the next four games in a row, then didn’t play in Friday night’s 2-2 tie with the Rockies.

The five-time Yankees All-Star his hitting .609 (14-for-23) in nine games this spring, with two doubles and six RBIs.

In other news this morning, McClendon said young right-handed starter Brandon Maurer is still having problems with a sore back and will likely be out another six or seven days, which is a big setback in his bid for a starting role.

The club is taking a longer look now at left-hander Roenis Elias as a starting candidate. The 25-year-old Cuban was 6-11 with a 3.18 ERA in 22 starts for Double-AA Jackson last year. He’ll get the start on Sunday against the Angels, a switch announced Friday after Scott Baker originally had been slated for that game.

McClendon said the team doesn’t want Baker facing the Angels three times in four games this spring, so he’ll throw in a Minor League contest the same day. But the move also gives the club a chance to see Elias in a front-line situation and McClendon said he’s built up to go about five innings or 75 pitches.

“He’s a left-hander who is 91-94 [mph with his fastball], he throws strikes, has quality stuff, he competes, holds runners,”  McClendon said. “It’s been interesting.”

On the good news front, reliever Stephen Pryor threw very well in a live batting practice situation on Friday and could appear in a Minor League game in the next few days, according to McClendon.

The skipper said it’s “probably stretching” to think Pryor could break camp with the team, but clearly he’s making quick progress in his return from surgery and is ahead of schedule.

Here’s today’s lineup for the 1:05 p.m. game with the Giants in Peoria, which includes Logan Morrison seeing his first outfield action with a start in right field. The game will be televised live by ROOT Sports.

Abraham Almonte CF
Kyle Seager 3B
Justin Smoak 1B
Corey Hart DH
Logan Morrison RF
Mike Zunino C
Nick Franklin SS
Michael Saunders LF
Willie Bloomquist 2B

James Paxton LHP

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