Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager each have two hits in setting the tone for Seattle | Larry Stone

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PEORIA, Ariz. — Until Thursday, the middle of the Mariners’ batting order had just been an abstraction, a pleasant fantasy. And the first unveiling of spring training is hardly the time to make sweeping generalizations.

But the debut glimpse of what the Mariners hope will be a potent, bordering on fearsome, attack — yes, this is the Mariners we’re talking about — was the stuff daydreams are made of.

Mind you, the trio of Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager could have struck out every at-bat against the Padres on Thursday, and it wouldn’t have meant much of anything with regard to their regular-season potential.

But the fact they went a combined 6 for 9 with a double (by Cano) and homer (by Cruz), and two hits by each, well, there’s nothing wrong with feeding the hype monster just a few morsels.

Especially for a team that has become accustomed to compensating for its offensive inadequacy. It’s become part of the Mariners’ DNA, and certainly their most identifiable characteristic.

This year, the M’s are intent upon changing the story line. For the second consecutive year, they made a splashy free-agent signing, adding home-run champion Cruz to hit between Cano and Seager in a three-four-five that looks legitimately dangerous. No other team can claim three 2014 All-Stars in those lineup spots.

The hope, of course, is that the ripple effect will be felt above and below that trio. Seager pointed out that Mike Zunino, who had 22 homers last year, batted eighth Thursday in a lineup that could closely approximate opening day.

Of course, a cynic would point out that Zunino hit .199, and leadoff man Austin Jackson had a .267 on-base percentage after coming to Seattle, and Logan Morrison can’t stay healthy, and Dustin Ackley hasn’t done it for a full year.

But this being March, we’re going to give the floor to the idealists, who will be represented by Seager.

“I think it’s exciting to think about the whole lineup,’’ he said. “Top to bottom, it’s a completely different feel to it. It’s definitely exciting. There’s a lot of different dynamics to it.”

Such as the Cruz dynamic. He singled in his first at-bat, then jumped on an Ian Kennedy curveball in the third, sending a towering drive over the foul pole in left, barely fair, for a two-run homer.

“You feel his presence in the middle,’’ Seager said. “You feel when he’s coming up. Playing against him, you know how many batters away he is. He’s one of those guys, he commands a lot of respect.

“Just having him in the order, obviously, that helps Cano get a lot of pitches, and it helps me behind him, getting a lot of people on base. It’s an exciting thing to be part of.”

Cruz said he used to be a strong spring-training hitter at the stage of his career when he was fighting to make teams. Since he became an established star, not so much. But before the game, Felix Hernandez requested a home run, so Cruz tried to oblige. He was visibly excited when the umpire signaled his drive was fair.

Last year, the Mariners’ cleanup spot was a black hole, winning an ignominious “Triple Crown” — lowest batting average (.218), on-base percentage (.295) and slugging percentage (.352) in the majors from the No. 4 hole.

Cruz was brought in to help change that, but despite his splashy debut, Cruz says not to judge him on his spring numbers.

“Spring training is about feeling,’’ he said. “If you feel good, it doesn’t matter what you do in at-bats. You want to get hits, because the confidence goes up. But it’s more important to get good feelings, so when the games that matter come, you’re ready for anything.”

Cano, meanwhile, is down 13 pounds and moving with a friskiness that belies his age (32).

“Robby’s running extremely well,’’ manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I’m really, really happy. He’s moving well in the field. He’s in great shape.”

Cano, of course, came to Seattle with a reputation of not always hustling while he was with the Yankees. But Thursday, in his first at-bat of the spring, he tore down the line on a slow roller and barely beat the throw for an infield single. His second at-bat resulted in a scorched grounder over the first-base bag for a double.

“Cano sets the tone,’’ Seager said. “He’s a guy that’s obviously not fighting for a job, and you see him, first at-bat of the year, and he’s busting it down the line. He’s scoring from second on a single, cruising first to third on a ground ball up the middle.

“It’s a different culture, and it’s very exciting to be part of.”

Cultures take time to coalesce, and lineups aren’t crowned as rousing successes after one spring game.

But this year, at least, the daydreams appear more closely aligned to reality than wishful thinking.