Zunino (oblique), who went 0-for-4 with a walk while catching all nine innings in a rehab game for High-A Modesto on Wednesday, is likely to join the Mariners at some point this coming weekend, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.
The rehabbing backstop’s anticipated return date comes courtesy of manager Scott Servais, who stated that Zunino would join the team “at some point on this road trip, probably in Texas”. Despite the fact he’s gone just 1-for-11 in three rehab games, Servais noted that Zunino is moving well behind the plate and appears “fully ready to go.” The Mariners begin a three-game set against the Rangers on Friday night, and it appears the 27-year-old slugger may have a chance to make his 2018 debut in the favorable hitting conditions of Globe Life Park in Arlington at some point during the series.
The first-pitch temperature at Target Field beat the Minnesota mark of 31 degrees for a game in 2014. Coors Field in Denver holds the major league low with a 23-degree day in April 2013 when Atlanta visited the Rockies.
Seattle didn’t manage a hit against Twins starter Jose Berrios (1-1) through three innings. Robinson Cano hit an RBI single in the fourth and Seager connected for a 3-0 lead.
The Mariners added two more runs in the fifth off Berrios when Dee Gordon rolled a two-run single through a drawn-in infield to make it 5-0. Berrios was pulled from the game after 4 2/3 innings – his shaky start came one outing after he tossed a shutout in his season debut at Baltimore.
Minnesota chipped away with a three-run sixth inning. Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano led off with back-to-back doubles, and Eddie Rosario and Eduardo Escobar followed with RBI singles.
The Twins threatened in the seventh by loading the bases with one out but couldn’t push across another run against Seattle’s bullpen.
The Mariners added insurance during a five-run eighth inning, including a three-run double by Healy and a two-run homer by Heredia.
Mariners: C Mike Zunino (right oblique strain) could join the team when the Mariners return to Seattle next week after their current road trip, manager Scott Servais said. He was eligible to return from the disabled list on Saturday.
Twins: RHP Phil Hughes (strained left oblique) threw a side session after pitching five innings in a rehab assignment Thursday in Fort Myers, Florida. Manager Paul Molitor said the team will continue to monitor Hughes on a day-to-day basis. . RHP Ervin Santana (finger) will fly back to Minneapolis on Tuesday to be examined by team doctors.
Mariners: LHP Marco Gonzales (1-0, 4.26 ERA) makes his second start of the year after earning a win in 6 1/3 innings against San Francisco.
Twins: RHP Lance Lynn (0-1, 11.25) is looking to bounce back from his first start with the Twins, a loss against Pittsburgh.
It was quite the odd start as the Minnesota Twins hosted the Seattle Mariners in their home opener on Wednesday.Members of the U.S. Men’s Olympic Curling Team Shuster that surprised everyone and won gold at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, were invited to throw out the first pitches.Story continues belowRelated
Snow was still present at Target Field a day before the Mariners’ series with the Twins. (AP)
MINNEAPOLIS – It was a balmy 17 degrees when the Mariners landed in the very early hours of the morning Thursday in Minnesota. Game-time temperature for the Twins’ home opener at 1:10 p.m. Pacific is forecast to be 36 degrees dropping to 31.
The opener is forecast to be the warm game of the three-game series, which will be interrupted by an off day Friday when temps could dip into the single digits. As of Thursday morning the low forecast for Saturday was 12 degrees, which would easily make Game 2 the coldest game on record ever played in MLB.
The weather was not an issue manager Scott Servais wanted to discuss while the Mariners were in San Francisco. The focus each day was the game at hand and the upcoming weather would be dealt with when it needed to be dealt with. That doesn’t mean there were not advanced preparations made for the conditions.
For starters, Thursday’s pitcher, James Paxton, was sent ahead as has been the tradition when the Mariners face an early morning arrival with a game that same day. Paxton left AT&T Park about two hours before the Mariners’ game Wednesday against the Giants and arrived in Minnesota well before his teammates. He should be well-rested if not completely acclimated to the arctic conditions.
“I don’t remember pitching in the 30s or anything like that,” Paxton said when asked about the coldest game he had ever played in.
The Big Maple may be Canadian, but his hometown of Ladner, British Columbia is much more similar in climate to Seattle than Calgary. Still, he is game for whatever the Minnesota still-winter brings.
“I will be able to stay warm in between innings,” he said. “When I am out there pitching I will be fine because I will be moving around staying warm. I can go inside in between, put on the jacket.”
Paxton will want to keep things moving quick – both to stay warm and help his position players, who won’t be able to move around as much. All players will have access to extra gear with equipment manager Ryan Stiles saying he brought three extra cases of cold weather gear on the trip, weighing 300-400 pounds.
There are stocking caps, ski masks, jackets, Nike Hyper-Warm long sleeves, shirts and pants, extra socks, hand warmers and of course jackets for all players and staff. For the hitters, who no doubt will dread the inside pitch that could jam them and make their frozen hands sting, cold weather batting gloves have been provided by Franklin.
It will be extreme, but the Mariners should be as prepared as they possibly could be. At the end of the day, according to Paxton, it’s mind over matter.
“Everyone is playing in the same conditions,” he said. “Don’t go out there and make excuses. It is what it is. Go get ’em.”
Cruz‘s ankle is merely sprained, with no structural or ligament damage, TJ Cotterill of The Tacoma News Tribune reports.
Cruz injured his ankle Saturday against the Indians after slipping on the dugout steps. Both an X-ray and an MRI revealed no serious damage, though with the team set to take on the Giants in San Francisco, there’s a small chance he heads to the disabled list, as he’s unlikely to play in the outfield with his injury. A trip to the DL appears unlikely at this point, but no decision is likely to be made Monday as the team has an off day and won’t need the extra man on the bench until Tuesday.