Two inevitable annual spring training events occurred at Mariners camp over the weekend: there was an injury that will have an impact on the opening day roster, and there were some players who got some bad news.
Reliever Josh Kinney – expected to make the Mariners opening day roster – was sidelined by a stress reaction in his left side. The only reports so far say that he is going to be out “for a few weeks” – which at this point will almost certainly carry past opening day.
Kinney’s absence creates an additional bullpen opening. Some early speculation from the reporters down in Arizona makes it sound like this may pave a way for Kameron Loe to make the club. The team has three weeks to figure it out.
There are some players who are definitely not going to be filling Kinney’s slot. Four players received bad news on Sunday: they will not make the Mariners opening day roster, and were sent to minor league camp.
Pitchers Chance Ruffin, Brian Moran, D.J. Mitchell, and Jonathan Arias were all sent to the minor league complex.
I believe the first three on that list will be Rainiers on April 4. Arias I’m not so sure about – he has a strong arm and scouts think he has a chance to pitch in the majors, but he might go to Double-A to start the season. It will come down to a Triple-A roster crunch at the end of March.
Ruffin, Moran, and Mitchell all should be very helpful for the Rainiers; they each had success in Tacoma towards the end of last year and had positive experiences to build on.
A brief comment on the wording of the spring training roster moves.
Chance Ruffin was “optioned to Tacoma,” while the other three pitchers were “re-assigned to minor league camp.”
Ruffin is on the Mariners 40-man roster, so the team had to invoke one of his three option years to send him to Tacoma. I believe this is Ruffin’s third and final option year.
The other three pitchers are all in camp on minor league contracts, and were non-roster invitees to major league spring training. Because they are not on the 40-man roster, the Mariners can move them to minor league camp with no repercussions. Should any of them get called up during the season, they will have to be added to the 40-man roster.
- The News Tribune has a nice feature on former Rainiers shortstop Chris Woodward, who is now a Mariners minor league coach.
- Here’s an excellent find by Jerry Brewer: Mariners catching prospect John Hicks and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson grew up playing baseball together.
- Brewer’s Sunday column was a favorable opinion on Jack Zduriencik.
- Student and teacher: Ryan Divish takes us inside coach Jeff Pentland‘s remake of Justin Smoak‘s swing.
- Pitcher Jon Garland is making a serious push to make the Mariners starting rotation. This would have repercussions on the Rainiers – likely causing either Blake Beavan or Erasmo Ramirez to open the season in Tacoma.
- Also from the above link, Stefen Romero strained an oblique muscle. That’s an injury that can take a long time to recover from (compared to other muscular injuries) and it could linger into the regular season.
- Mexico was eliminated from the WBC and Oliver Perez rejoined the Mariners. He talked about the big brawl with Canada (video).
- Larry Stone talked to Michael Saunders about the brawl and his hot-hitting for Team Canada. Canada was eliminated by the USA yesterday, but Saunders was named MVP of the pool (he swims, too!).
- Mariners minor leaguer Kalian Sams had the game-winning RBI as the Netherlands advanced in the WBC.
- Felix Hernandez spends his off-time ragging on Taijuan Walker.
- Apparently I’m supposed to call D.J. Mitchell “The Therapist” now. I don’t think it’s gonna happen.
- For ESPN Insiders, Keith Law has notes on several Mariners prospects and possible Rainiers players.
- It looks like Manny Ramirez really is going to play in Taiwan this year.
- This is a picture of friend-of-the-blog Rob Neyer enjoying a tasty snack.
Check back on Wednesday morning, when I tell you about my preseason quickie vacation!