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03/06/11 7:53 PM ET

Felix ready to roll in Cactus League debut

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Felix Hernandez will make his first Cactus League start Monday against Oakland as the Mariners move forward with their American League Cy Young Award winner.

By starting Monday, Hernandez will be on schedule to pitch every fifth day up until his Opening Day start against the same A's club on April 1 in Oakland.

Jason Vargas will then follow Hernandez on Tuesday with his first Spring Training appearance. He'll throw three innings against the Giants and then follow the same path toward the regular season.

Hernandez, who threw 33 pitches in a simulated game against some Minor League batters Thursday, will also throw three innings Monday. He'll then be followed in that game by top rookie prospect Michael Pineda. New acquisition Aaron Laffey is also scheduled to pitch Monday, along with youngsters Josh Lueke and Jose Flores.

Pitching coach Carl Willis is looking to avoid having Hernandez face too many American League West teams during Spring Training and will line up several "B" games for him later in the month to avoid that, but said he's OK with him facing the A's on Monday since it's so early in spring.

That game will be at Oakland's Phoenix Municipal Stadium at 12:05 p.m. PT.

On an every-fifth-day schedule, Hernandez then would face Oakland again Saturday, followed by Kansas City on March 17, the White Sox on March 22 and the Rangers on March 27.

The March 12 and March 27 games will presumably be replaced by "B" squad outings.

Olivo feels better, will rest 1-2 weeks

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Miguel Olivo is still waiting word like everyone else on the results of the MRI test on his strained groin muscle, but the Mariners catcher said he was feeling better than expected Sunday and plans to be back soon.

Olivo said the initial plan is for him to rest his left leg completely for one to two weeks, then begin riding a bike and working in a pool and see how it progresses.

"From yesterday I didn't think I'd be able to walk right now, but I'm walking OK," he said. "I feel it when I push side to side. But we'll give it one to two weeks and then we'll see after that."

Olivo fell face-first on home plate after pain shot through his thigh as he scored on a sacrifice fly Saturday. He underwent an MRI on Sunday, but results won't be known until Monday, according to manager Eric Wedge.

"We'll just have to wait and see. We're still evaluating the tests," Wedge said. "He felt better this morning and he's getting some work done today. We're not exactly sure what kind of time frame we're looking at, but obviously this is going to give those other catchers more of an opportunity for us to take a look at."

Olivo felt a twinge when he pushed off third base after tagging up on a sacrifice fly by Sean Kazmar and then grabbed his leg as he approached home.

"I just dropped," he said. "I didn't want to keep pushing. Things happen. And yesterday I felt better than any day in Spring Training. I know I'll be back soon because I like to work hard and when you work hard, things get better.

"This is the first time I've had any injury with my body. I'm not going to be like a little baby. I'm not going to babysit that thing. I'll work hard and follow the doctor with one week's rest and then we'll see."

Olivo said the irony was that he wasn't even running hard when the muscle gave way, since there was no throw to the plate.

"When I felt it, right away I knew because I'd never had that feeling before," he said. "That's why I went down so quick. The doctor said he was glad I did that because if I'd kept running, it would have been worse.

"I think I'll be OK," he said. "I guarantee you that."

Will he be ready for Opening Day in April 1?

"I hope so," he said. "God [willing], I know I'll be there."

Robertson roughed up in second start

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Nate Robertson, trying to win a roster and rotation spot as a non-roster invitee, gave up four runs on four hits and two walks in a three-inning stint Sunday in the Mariners' 6-1 loss to the Giants.

Despite a 1-2-3 first inning, the 33-year-old wasn't nearly as effective as his two shutout-inning stint in his debut last week, as only a leaping double-play snag by first baseman Justin Smoak on a shot by Brandon Belt with the bases loaded in the second helped keep things in check.

Miguel Tejada ripped a two-run triple in the third inning after Mike Fontenot had doubled as the Giants took advantage of the left-hander's mistakes.

"From the second inning on, I just didn't finish off my pitches, then it was inexcusable to walk guys and both of them scored," Robertson said. "That's pretty much it in a nutshell. A couple times I tried to come in and caught a little bit too much of the plate. And I left a changeup there to Miguel in the third."

Robertson knows he needs to make a good early impression as a non-roster invitee, but said the important thing was his arm feels good and strong at this stage in camp.

"Spring Training is a tuneup for everybody, but you have to make your impressions," he said. "I'm not going to go home happy about [today]. But you walk off the field and I've got my health. Now it's just a matter of getting things tightened up, working on it and putting it into play."

Smoak flashes leather at first base

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Justin Smoak hasn't gotten his bat cranked up yet this spring, going 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts Sunday, but the young Mariners first baseman made an impressive defensive play with a leaping snag of a hard line drive by Giants designated hitter Brandon Belt in the second inning of Seattle's 6-1 loss.

Smoak went high in the air to rob Belt with the bases loaded, then scrambled to first to get a double play that help Nate Robertson escape a difficult situation.

"Great play," said Robertson. "He's a big guy who can get up quick. That was good. Really good."

Mariners manager Eric Wedge was impressed as well.

"I'll tell you what, that was a helluva play," Wedge said. "That ball was really smoked, no pun intended. He reacted well and had enough of a head about him to immediately react and get back to the bag."

The next step will be to get Smoak untracked at the plate. The 24-year-old is hitting .133 (2-for-15) in five Cactus League games with six strikeouts and one RBI.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.