ST. LOUIS -- The Mariners have signed 17 of the 50 players they selected in the First-Year Player Draft, including right-hander Stephen Pryor, the fifth-round pick.

"We are excited to get these players in uniform and to see all the young talent that we recently drafted in action," said Tom McNamara, the director of amateur scouting.

Pryor, who attended Tennessee Tech University, went 4-4 with a 5.71 ERA in 24 outings this past season, including one start. The 6-foot-4, 235-pounder also had four saves for the Golden Eagles.

He holds the school record for strikeouts per nine innings with almost 16 1/2 and held opposing hitters to a .224 average.

Other Draft selections reaching contract agreements were infielder Daniel Lopez (16th), right-hander Willy Kesler (18th), outfielder Franklin Christian (19th) and right-hander Matt Bischoff (20th).

Mariners winding up long stretch of games

ST. LOUIS -- A 20-games-in-20-days marathon entered its final stages on Monday, and sensing a weary team, manager Don Wakamatsu had limited workouts at Busch Stadium prior to the opener of a three-game Interleague series against the Cardinals.

The team arrived from San Diego shortly before midnight on Sunday night, the second time it crossed into the central time zone on this 10-game, three-city road trip.

Pregame batting practice was canceled and the players were told to arrive no earlier than 3:00 p.m., about three hours before the first pitch.

"We've worked extremely hard and taken a lot of extra batting practice to try to get this offense going," Wakamatsu said. "You start to see where some of these guys, physically, are getting pretty exhausted.

"We knew there was going to be quite a bit of humidity here, and add the time change and it's very difficult."

The trip started in steamy Arlington for four games, moved back to the West Coast for three games against the Padres and back to the central time zone for the three-game series against the Cardinals.

"They've been going hard and they needed a little extra rest," Wakamatsu said.

This three-game series marks the end of the longest stretch of games a team can play.

The Mariners are off on Thursday, play a three-game Interleague series against the Reds at Safeco Field, are off again on Monday and play the Cubs at home in another three-game series.

Adair: Felix did not balk

ST. LOUIS -- After watching video of the pickoff move right-hander Felix Hernandez made on Sunday to catch Scott Hairston at first base, a move that was called a balk, pitching coach Rick Adair was convinced on Monday that Hernandez made a legal move.

"I have seen worse moves to first that haven't been called," Adair said. "It was a good move for me. It was quick feet. I can see where it could have been called, but again, I have seen much worse and not seen it called."

Hernandez thought he had Hairston nailed in the Mariners' eventual 4-2 victory, but was surprised when plate umpire Angel Hernandez (no relation) called a balk on Felix -- his first of the season.

The umpire ruled that Felix "didn't step but just spun," to which Felix responded, "He was the only one that saw that."

Adair said it isn't something that he would talk to his ace pitcher about.

"Probably seven or eight out of 10 times he does that it isn't called. It's a good move. I would tell him to keep doing the same thing."

The Mariners have been called for five balks this season, tied with the Tigers for the most in the Major Leagues.

Mariners being careful with Fister

ST. LOUIS -- Right-hander Doug Fister, currently on the 15-day disabled list with a tired shoulder, has been penciled in as one of the Mariners' starting pitchers in the upcoming three-game Interleague series against the Cubs at Safeco Field.

But that plan might change.

"There has been some dialogue about maybe giving him a couple of innings prior to that," manager Don Wakamatsu said on Monday. "It has nothing to do with where he's at physically, as much as trying to be safe with him."

Fister has a 3-3 record and 2.45 ERA in 10 starts this season and has been one of the most pleasant surprises in a season so far filled with disappointing performances.

So making sure he's not overworked is one the organization's top priorities.

"Rick [pitching coach Rick Adair] and I are kind of tweaking the rotation right now, not only for the homestand, but as we go forward," Wakamatsu said. "I'll let [the media] know tomorrow whether he'll pitch on that first day against the Cubs, or something different."

If something different is done, Fister probably would make a rehab start in the Minor Leagues and that would back up his next start to the three-game road Interleague series against the Brewers in Milwaukee.

"That way, we feel we can control it a little more," Wakamatsu said. "His next start would be in the NL, where we don't have to force him to go eight or nine innings. It's really for his benefit as much as anything."

Worth noting

Manager Don Wakamatsu had a telephone conversation on Monday with reliever Mark Lowe to wish the hurler well going into Tuesday's back surgery. Wakamatsu said Lowe was nervous, but sounded good and quite a few people had called him to wish him the best of luck. ... Jack Wilson and Adam Moore both were slated to play nine innings on Monday, but Wakamatsu said he wasn't sure when either player -- both currently on the 15-day disabled list -- would be activated. ... Left-hander Erik Bedard is scheduled to throw a 30-pitch simulated game on Tuesday. ... Designated hitter Mike Sweeney (back) should be ready to come off the DL on Friday as scheduled.