Mariners sluggers Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz are sidelined with head colds but the team hopes they will return to the Cactus League lineup by Monday.
The middle of the order for the Mariners continues to look a little out-of-order as Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz battle head colds that again sidelined each for Saturday’s game against the Texas Rangers and also could see them miss Sunday’s contest against Cincinnati.
Each participated in the World Baseball Classic and manager Scott Servais said it’s probable that all of the travel involved likely has contributed to the two players getting sick. Neither has played since Wednesday.
“I’m not shocked at all by it,” Servais said. “When you start traveling around like these guys have been, your body it takes its toll and especially when it’s not scheduled out like a normal season is, it’s going to be a little bit challenging. But I’d much rather have it happen now than late next week (with the regular season starting April 3 at Houston). So my feeling is we will get these guys on medicine (and get them recovered).”
Servais said he saw each briefly Saturday and “they don’t sound nor look good, so just shut ’em down.”
Servais’ goal is to get them well by Monday when he wants to begin treating the spring training lineups much like the regular season, including having relievers pitch when they would be used, as well, instead of having pre-determined innings.
“Trying to get to Monday and get everybody healthy and kind of get it going again,” Servais said. “It’s kind of hard to do that without your three- and four-hole hitters in the clubhouse, let alone on the field. Obviously they are a huge part of our team and our offensive club and our leadership and all that stuff. Let’s get those guys healthy and fingers crossed and then on Monday start putting our relievers in situations that may be similar to what they are seeing during the seasons — left, right left and all that type of stuff and the relievers not having to pitch in the fourth, they are into the sixth and you’ll pitch when you get the call. Treat it more like that on Monday.”
The Mariners have a few other health issues, as well, that Servais hopes will also pass by Monday.
Specifically, outfielder and projected leadoff hitter Jarrod Dyson remains out with a fatigued hamstring. Servais emphasized it is not pulled and that Dyson could play if it was the regular season but that he wants to give him a little more time off to get it right.
And pitcher James Paxton is also battling a head cold similar to that of Cano and Cruz. Paxton did not pitch on Friday due to that illness. But it is expected he will get on the mound on Saturday in a minor league game to get his pitches in.
Here are a couple of other health updates:
— Closer Edwin Diaz is expected to pitch on Sunday in what would be his first game since returning from the WBC. He is then scheduled to also pitch Monday to get in his “back-to-back” activity of the spring. “He feels good,” Servais said. “He’s excited to get back out there and get after it.”
— Reliever Tony Zych’s road to recovery takes another big step forward Sunday when he is expected to pitch against the Reds. It will be his first Cactus League action of the season and if it goes well could make more realistic his hope of potentially being on the Opening Day roster.
— Reliever Steve Cishek will pitcher another bullpen session Sunday as he continues his rehab from off-season hip surgery.
— Utility infielder Shawn O’Malley is “still out a ways” after having an appendectomy earlier this week, Servais said.
— Reliever Shae Simmons is still not able to pitch off a mound but is playing some catch.