The Mariners have wrapped up phase one of their Cactus League play and are now preparing for their four games in Japan: exhibition games on the 25th and 26th and the MLB regular season kick-off in the Japan Opening Series versus the Oakland A's on the 28th and 29th.
Today GM Jack Zduriencik announced the 30 players that earned themselves a ticket on the plane to Japan for the club. All of these players will be eligible to participate in the two exhibition games:
Following the exhibition games, the M's are required to set a 28-man roster for the A's series, with only 25 of the 28 eligible to play in the games. Note that all of the players on this roster are not required to be in Japan. Roster moves are allowed, but hopefully the M's won't run into any injuries while on this trip.
We know that Felix Hernandez will get the nod on Opening Night for the Mariners and Jason Vargas will follow him the next day. We also know that Hisashi Iwakuma -- who will not be in the regular season rotation -- is slated to start one of the exhibition games. The other exhibition starter has not been announced yet, but we do know that it won't be newly annointed fifth starter Kevin Millwood as he will not make the trip with the club.
The A's series has already been announced as a sellout. Along with Iwakuma, the Mariners also obviously have superstar Ichiro Suzuki and
Munenori Kawasaki on their team and they are easily the most popular MLB team in Japan.
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