Cruz, who will try to help the Mariners break their 15-year postseason drought in 2017, is highly optimistic about the coming season, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. "I think we're more ready," the 36-year-old designated hitter said. "If you go from Kyle [Seager] to all the young guys that were here, guys that haven't been in the playoffs, the last week and a half last year was very exciting. Every at-bat was important, every pitch was important. But we came up short. So we need to make sure this year we're on top and clinch early."
The veteran slugger has a full schedule, considering he'll also be helping Team Dominican Republic defend its World Baseball Classic title alongside Mariners teammate Robinson Cano next month. Cruz's main focus is on his major league squad, however, as he attempts to help Seattle break its dubious streak of missing the postseason. Following an impressive 2016 campaign that saw him post a .287/.360/.555 line with 43 homers and 105 RBI, Cruz didn't rest on his laurels in the offseason, toiling away at the gym and checking in to spring training five pounds lighter than at the end of last season. With Seattle just missing an AL wild-card berth in 2016, Cruz is hopeful that the experience of competing late in the season, along with the flurry of offseason moves by general manager Jerry DiPoto, will be enough to propel the Mariners to the next level. "Now hopefully we can stay healthy. We should be in good shape. We should be at the top of the division."
Marleau posted a goal with a plus-1 rating and a blocked shot in Sunday's 2-1 overtime loss against the Bruins.
Marleau tied Joe Mullen for 43rd place all-time with his 502nd career goal. He snapped a three-game scoreless skid with the marker. The veteran has been terribly inconsistent this season, but he remains a fantasy must-have for his ability to pick up points in bunches.
Hernandez impressed in his second throwing session of spring training Sunday, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.
The Mariners' ace got in a 10-minute session despite dealing with some rainy weather, and as he had Thursday, looked impressive while also drawing raves for his transformed physique, which includes several pounds of new muscle after a rigorous offseason training regimen. Hernandez is working on an accelerated throwing schedule overall this spring in anticipation of his participation in the World Baseball Classic with Team Venezuela.
Hayes posted an assist with a plus-1 rating, a blocked shot and two hits in Sunday's 2-1 overtime win against the Sharks.
The assist was the 100th point of his career. Hayes managed just two goals and an assist over his first 41 games but he has two helpers over the past three outings. His fantasy appeal remains limited to the deepest of formats until he starts to find his way onto the scoresheet with more frequency.
Jones allowed two goals on 28 shots in Sunday's 2-1 loss against the Bruins.
While the result was the same in the loss column, Jones was much better than his previous outing Wednesday against the Panthers when he coughed up six goals on just 22 shots. He has been a bit shaky lately but Sunday's improvement should give fantasy owners hope heading into the new week.