Seager back in lineup today, plus other Sunday notes

SeagerPointAll-Star third baseman Kyle Seager was back in the Mariners lineup for Sunday afternoon’s game against the Rangers after being held out Saturday with some tightness in his side.

“He just had a little soreness, but he’s fine,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I just didn’t want to take a chance. I’ve been assured everything is fine.”

Seager figures to be one of the key figures in Seattle’s lineup this year as the No. 5 hitter behind Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz in the middle of McClendon’s batting order. The 27-year-old hit .268 with 25 home runs and 96 RBIs last year and also earned his first American League Gold Glove award.

Seager signed a seven-year, $100 million contract extension in December. He’s hit .400 (10-for-25) with two doubles, one home run and five RBIs in 10 Cactus League games this spring.

In other news Sunday:

• McClendon said the decision on a second left-hander in the bullpen – a battle now down to Rule 5 Draft pick David Rollins, former Gonzaga standout Tyler Olson and veteran Joe Saunders – won’t like be made for another week to 10 days.

• If James Paxton proves healthy, there’s a chance he could pitch in the No. 2 spot in the Mariners rotation between right-handers Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma. Paxton, making his first start of the spring on Sunday, currently is lined up between those two in the Cactus League schedule.

Asked if he likes the idea of a right-left-right-left rotation, McClendon said: “If they’re good, yeah. I don’t like it just to have it.” But McClendon then acknowledged, “I have real good candidates to have it, yeah.”

• Iwakuma will pitch in a simulated game Monday morning against Minor League hitters, while Erasmo Ramirez gets the start in the afternoon’s Cactus League game against the Angels in Tempe.

• J.A. Happ is scheduled to pitch Tuesday against the Padres, Taijuan Walker gets the Wednesday night start against the Cubs and Hernandez will face the Royals on Thursday afternoon. All those games are at Peoria Stadium. The Mariners also have a split-squad game Thursday against the Brewers at Maryvale, with Roenis Elias getting that start.

• McClendon had a motivational speaker in the clubhouse on Sunday morning. The session was closed to the media, but a group was setting up stacks of bricks and boards to be broken in what McClendon called “part of the act.” Before reporters were ushered out of the clubhouse, Hernandez was pretending he was going to break some of the boards being carefully stacked for the demonstration.

“Use your left arm, Felix,” catcher Mike Zunino called out.

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

RangersLine

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