Cruz back in lineup, Segura to play Saturday

Seattle Mariners v San Francisco Giants

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Designated hitter Nelson Cruz is back in the lineup for Thursday night's game against the Texas Rangers. Meanwhile, shortstop Jean Segura is on pace to play Saturday night as the Mariners ramp up toward Opening Day.

Cruz has missed over a week of action due to a strained quadriceps. Segura has been sidelined the last several days due to a sprained thumb. Additionally, Robinson Cano will play second base after serving as the DH in Wednesday night's game against Milwaukee.

Segura hit in the batting cages on Thrusday with the intention of taking batting practice with the team on Friday. Then he'll return to the lineup on Saturday if all goes well. Segura was injured bracing himself against the ground after catching a pop-up last Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels.

Ichiro Suzuki is not in the lineup against Texas after playing a few innings in last night's game against the Brewers. Suzuki is not 100 percent due to a calf injury but still needs to find time to see pitches to get his timing in order before Opening Day. He will play in minor league games on Friday in an attempt to get the at-bats he's looking for. He can bat multiple times in multiple games on the minor league side to get his needed work in.

"You may not see him in an 'A' game for a couple days yet," Servais said. "Getting the quantity of at-bats is what he's looking for at the minor league games and he'll probably head that way tomorrow. It's more about his timing. We all know Ichi can play the outfield but it's more about trying to get him 100 percent so he'll be in the minor league games tomorrow."

Manager Scott Servais said on Thursday afternoon that the team will make their final roster decisions this weekend. Seeing how Felix Hernandez performs in his final start against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday will have an influence on how the team is structured coming out of spring training.

Servais has previously said that the team will likely only carry 12 pitchers with 13 position players when the unit breaks camp. Since the Mariners likely won't need a fifth starter until April 11. 

David Phelps to have Tommy John surgery on Monday:

The Mariners announced Wednesday night that right-handed pitcher David Phelps would miss the entire season due to a torn Ulnar Collateral Ligament in his throwing elbow.

Phelps said Thursday that he is scheduled to have surgery with renowned sports surgeon Dr. James Andrews on Monday.

"It's disappointing. It's a blow," manager Scott Servais said. "I think that's one of the things I was excited about with our club as we put it together this offseason was bringing the guys we had from last year back and adding (Juan) Nicasio to it. Felt very good about the depth of the group. 

"It's a little bit of a blow. I'm not going to lie. I really like David Phelps. I like what he brings to the mix here. He's got experience. He's got quality stuff. Unfortunately, it's just not going to happen this year."

Phelps said he felt something in his elbow on the second to last pitch of his outing against the Angels last Saturday. Then on his next pitch to Chris Carter, the ligament gave away.

"What I told the doc at the time was that I thought I felt a crack in the back of my elbow. I was hopeful it was maybe just scar tissue from the surgery. Turns out that what I thought was a crack was indeed a 'pop' that guys typically talk about," Phelps said.

"It was something I've never felt before in my life, what I felt on Saturday. You're always hopeful when you go in for an MRI, but this time I kind of had a feeling something was wrong."

Phelps had surgery in September to remove a bone spur from his elbow. However, the injury to his UCL is believed to be an unrelated event. Phelps felt his stuff was rounding into form in the outing before his elbow

Servais and General Manager Jerry Dipoto didn't sugarcoat the loss of Phelps. However, they are both hopeful they have enough depth to adequately cover the loss.

"Fortunate for us we've had some guys step up this spring," Servais said. "I think (Dan) Altavilla is one of those guys that's taken a nice step forward. It allows him to maybe even take on a little bit bigger role in our bullpen early in the season. I think he's certainly capable of doing that." 

Photo Credit: SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 09: Nelson Cruz #23 of the Seattle Mariners hits a solo home run against the San Francisco Giants in the third inning of the spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium on March 9, 2018 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

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