Dozen Mariners set sail, World Baseball Classic on deck
Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Jean Segura were in a bit of a hurry after playing part of a spring training game over the weekend for the Seattle Mariners.
They had to catch a plane to Florida, where their teammates from the Dominican Republic were convening for the World Baseball Classic to defend their 2013 title.
''It's going to be really fun for us being around those guys,'' Segura said of his countrymen. ''It's something we're going to give our all to, for sure.''
Ace Felix Hernandez was among 12 players, including both major leaguers and minor leaguers, the Mariners sent to the WBC.
The departures mean the Mariners won't have their starting middle infield (Cano and Segura), designated hitter (Cruz) and Hernandez for anywhere from eight to 18 days. Additionally, two more starting pitchers are in the WBC, though Drew Smyly won't go unless Team USA makes the second round, and closer Edwin Diaz will join Team Puerto Rico at its camp in nearby Scottsdale, Arizona.
''The one thing I can say to the guys going to the WBC is have fun, enjoy yourself, don't get hurt,'' Mariners manager Scott Servais said. ''We have a big year ahead of us, they know that. They're in good shape, they're ready to go play. Opportunities for other guys to step up.''
Hernandez made his final start Sunday in Peoria, Arizona, before heading to nearby Surprise to work out with Team Venezuela. After his three innings and 50 pitches to Oakland - in which he allowed two runs on four hits and struck out five - Hernandez is set to start the WBC opener for his country against Puerto Rico on Friday in Jalisco, Mexico.
''It's going to be a fun tournament,'' Hernandez said. ''It's really important to give Venezuela a victory after everything that is happening and the situation there being so bad. A win for Venezuela would be meaningful.''
Saturday's starting pitcher, Yovani Gallardo, took the short walk to the other side of the Peoria Sports Complex to join Team Mexico.
''You get together with other guys that are from that same country, get everybody in one room and it's exciting,'' said Gallardo, who pitched in the 2013 WBC. ''Very, very competitive from the first pitch on to the last pitch.''
AROUND THE GRAPEFRUIT AND CACTUS LEAGUES
CARDINALS 14, METS 11
Former Mets ace Matt Harvey had a rough start in his spring debut, surrendering four earned runs in 1 2/3 innings. He is coming back from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery last July, ending a season in which he went 4-10 with a 4.86 ERA.
Jose Martinez hit a three-run homer off Harvey after Jhonny Peralta doubled and Matt Adams was hit by a pitch. Martinez had three hits and scored four times. Dexter Fowler had a two-run double.
Yoenis Cespedes hit his second homer for New York.
RED SOX 11, BRAVES 1
Boston starter Kyle Kendrick threw four hitless innings. He's in camp as a nonroster invitee.
Andrew Benintendi doubled twice and AL MVP runner-up Mookie Betts had an RBI double and a sacrifice fly for the Red Sox.
Former All-Star Kurt Suzuki had a hit and an RBI for Atlanta.
PHILLIES (ss) 8, TIGERS 5
Justin Upton hit his second spring homer, a three-run drive for Detroit. Tigers starter Daniel Norris pitched three scoreless frames.
Philadelphia newcomer Michael Saunders homered. Clay Buchholz, also in his first year with Philadelphia, surrendered four earned runs in three innings.
ASTROS 7, MARLINS 7, 9 INNINGS
Adeiny Hechavarria and Tyler Moore homered for Miami. The 30-year-old Moore is trying to make the Marlins' roster after four seasons in Washington.
Jake Marisnick drove in two runs for Houston.
TWINS 4, NATIONALS 2
Hector Santiago, in his first full season with the Twins, struck out five in 2 2/3 innings. He was acquired at the trade deadline last summer from the Angels.
Tanner Roark threw four shutout innings for Washington. Anthony Rendon doubled in his only at-bat.
ORIOLES 3, PHILLIES (ss) 2
Baltimore free agent signee Welington Castillo doubled home Mark Trumbo, who had also doubled. Castillo signed on a one-year deal and is expected to replace Matt Wieters as the everyday catcher.
Cameron Rupp homered for Philadelphia.
YANKEES 3, PIRATES 2
Masahiro Tanaka threw three scoreless innings and struck out four. He has yet to allow a run over two starts for the Yankees. Matt Holiday hit two doubles.
Jameson Taillon threw two spotless innings for Pittsburgh.
RAYS 5, BLUE JAYS 3
Alex Cobb allowed an earned run over three innings. He has made just five starts over the previous two seasons for Tampa Bay due to injury.
Jose Bautista doubled and singled for Toronto. Marcus Stroman allowed four hits through 2 2/3 innings.