The Mariners were scheduled to play the Orioles for four nine-inning games over four days at Camden Yards. Instead, spring rain showers have forced them into their second doubleheader of two scheduled seven-inning games for the second time in the series.
Just before 2:30 p.m. PT Wednesday afternoon, roughly an hour and half before the first pitch of the game was scheduled to be thrown by right-hander Matt Harvey, the game between Seattle and Baltimore was postponed due to rain.
With steady rain falling pregame and a forecast that showed rain through the evening, the teams decided to postpone the game and make it up as part of a traditional doubleheader on Thursday — a getaway day for both teams.
First pitch for Game 1 of the two seven-inning games is scheduled for 9:35 a.m. PT. Left-hander Marco Gonzales, who was supposed to start on Thursday, will start the early game.
Game 2 of the doubleheader will begin approximately 45 minutes after the end of Game 1. Right-hander Justin Dunn, who was scheduled to start for the Mariners on Wednesday, will get the nod in the second game.
The Mariners will immediately fly back to Seattle following the game to be ready to open a five-game homestand that features a three-game series with the Astros starting on Friday night at 7:10 p.m. Just which members of Houston’s roster will be in attendance is uncertain. Just before Wednesday’s game at Minute Maid Park, the Astros placed five players — third baseman Alex Bregman, second baseman Jose Altuve, designated hitter Yordan Alvarez, catcher Martin Maldonado and infielder Robel Garcia — on the injured list due to health and safety concerns per James Click, the Astros general manager.
Five players were selected from Houston’s alternative site to fill in.
Click wouldn’t tell local media if a player had tested positive and said that the length of time on the injured list would be based on further testing. If MLB were to determine there was a false positive test and verify it with subsequent tests, then those players could be back to play in Seattle.
Manager Dusty Baker told reporters that all five of those players have had their first of two vaccine shots. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it usually takes two weeks after being fully vaccinated for the body to develop immunity. Alvarez tested positive for COVID-19 during the 2020 season.
Playing through pain for White
First baseman Evan White was in the starting lineup for the postponed game on Wednesday, but he probably won’t start both games of the doubleheader as he recovers from a quad strain.
During Game 1 of Tuesday’s doubleheader, White was noticeably running carefully and at a highly reduced rate of speed in an effort not to restrain the area in his left thigh.
“Evan is trying to obviously play through something,” Servais said. “Oftentimes, when young players come through the minor leagues, and especially when they’re high-end prospects, all minor league managers and trainers are going to be very cautious with them. And anytime that player doesn’t feel 100%, they quickly pull that player out of the game. And Evan certainly had some injury issues early in his minor league career.”
The unexpected off day will allow some more time to rest the leg and get more treatment. But he’s going to have to play through some discomfort and will have to manage the situation moving forward.
“He’s kind of at the point where he is in the big leagues, and trying to get him over that hurdle of what can you play with, what does running at 80% look like versus running at 30%, how do you stay on the field to help your team,” Servais said. “In the first game yesterday, he makes two unbelievable defensive plays that really help us win the ballgame. So having Evan out there at less than 100% still helps us. So hopefully, this is something he can play through over the next four or five days, and it gets better as it goes along. If not, then he’d have to take a step back and take an (injured list stint). Hopefully, we can stay away from that.”
Kyle Lewis (right knee bone bruise) got more live at-bats at the alternate training site Wednesday. He was also expected to catch some fly balls in center field during that workout. He has yet to test the knee by running the bases. He started the season on the injured list, after injuring the knee in the last week of spring training. The Mariners won’t activate Lewis from the IL early and play him at designated hitter for his first few games.
“This is starting his season,” Servais said. “I wouldn’t want to rush him back unless he was 100% and felt good about going into center field. It doesn’t mean he needs to go out and play center field for six consecutive days. But the first night he plays, I think he should be in center field and feel really good about where he’s at and where his legs are at underneath him.”
Outfielder Jake Fraley (left hamstring) isn’t as close to being activated from the injured list. Servais said that Fraley isn’t scheduled to even resume baseball activities as part of his rehab and recovery program for at least another week.
Top outfield prospect Julio Rodriguez was out of High-A Everett’s starting lineup for a second straight spring training game in Arizona. General manager Jerry Dipoto said via text that Rodriguez is dealing with an ear infection and was held out of games.