Cliff Lee, the Mariners big off season signing, is no longer suspended and will return from injury in less than two weeks. With Lee's debut scheduled for April 30th, the debate remains over who the Mariners should pull from the rotation to make room for the 2008 Cy Young award winner. Going into the year, the choice was between two unproven young starters who both had made major league debuts last season.Doug Fister and Jason Vargas entered Spring Training battling with Garrett Olsen for the final rotation spot. After Lee's injury, two spots opened up and both were inserted into the Opening Day rotation. With Lee's return getting ever closer, Fister and Vargas know they are battling for a roster spot and a chance to stay with a major league ball club.
Fister limped through four innings in his first start against Oakland and although he allowed only two runs, he gave up six hits and walked three and threw 96 pitches. In the past two starts, Fister has gone from unprepared to unhittable. Fister returned to the mound five days later and weaved an eight inning masterpiece against the same Oakland team he had been overwhelmed by in his first start. In this start, Fister allowed no runs on just three hits and struck out four.