Hultzen makes his return today, plus other news

Hultzen2Pretty quiet morning as far as news out of Mariners camp, but should be an interesting game this afternoon as Danny Hultzen will make his first appearance since undergoing shoulder surgery in 2013 when Seattle hosts the Rockies at 1:05 p.m. at Peoria Stadium.

Erasmo Ramirez gets the start and will likely go three innings in his second Cactus League outing, with Hultzen then coming in for an inning of relief. Hultzen was the second overall pick in the 2011 draft and while he’s not expected to be ready to help at the Major League level this year, the Mariners are pointing him toward being full go by 2016.

Tom Wilhelmsen will also pitch an inning of relief today in his first outing of the spring after being slowed initially by a sore back. Closer Fernando Rodney is among the other relievers who’ll pitch today.

Manager Lloyd McClendon spent a good part of his morning session with the media talking about the “live-and-learn” moments from Tuesday’s 9-3 loss to the Rockies, a game marred by some poor defensive play from some of his young prospects.

McClendon says those mistakes are a necessary part of the development of youngsters, particularly kids who are pressing in their first Major League camp while trying to make an impression. McClendon said the same is true for managers.

“Sure, absolutely. I made a lot of mistakes when I was a young manager. I haven’t made one mistake here,” he said with a laugh.

As for his understanding of what players are going through in trying to make a team, McClendon unleashed another grin.

“I was a horse[blank] player,” he said. “I understand. It’s a hard game. Jim Leyland used to tell me, when we board that plane, you get on the back and make sure the general manager doesn’t know you’re on this team.”

McClendon spent 8 ½ seasons in the Majors as a utility player, so he was better than he lets on. But the point was made. Baseball can be a tough game and the skipper has some empathy for guys trying to make a squad.

On the news front, McClendon said Roenis Elias will start Sunday against the Dodgers. So the upcoming pitching slate is Jordan Pries on Thursday, J.A. Happ on Friday, Taijuan Walker on Saturday and Elias on Sunday. Hisashi Iwakuma is throwing a simulated game against Minor Leaguers on Thursday and Felix Hernandez will do the same on Sunday.

And James Paxton is still on line to make his Cactus League debut Tuesday, March 17. Paxton is scheduled for his first live batting practice this morning.

Robinson Cano is still due back from the Dominican on Friday following his grandfather’s funeral services in the Dominican Republic.

Here are the lineups for today’s game, which will be televised live on ROOT Sports and MLB.TV.

RoxLineup

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