The Mariners trimmed made three more cuts at the start of the weekend, trimming the number of players in major league camp down to 40.
Manager Lloyd McClendon told the media that anyone still in camp at this point has a legitimate shot at making the team
These moves were made on Friday afternoon:
Optioned to AAA TACOMA (3):
Infielder (1): Jesus Montero
Outfielder (2): Xavier Avery, James Jones
Re-Assigned to Minor League Camp (1):
Infielder (1): Chris Taylor
The team has a rare spring training off-day today (at least in terms of exhibition games – many players will work out anyway).
The lingering drama involves the starting shortstop battle, which McClendon said has been pretty much an even fight between Nick Franklin and Brad Miller.
Spots in the starting rotation are still up for grabs, although good things are happening on that front as both Taijuan Walker and Hisashi Iwakuma are getting healthier. There is a realistic chance that we see both pitchers on a rehabilitation assignment in Tacoma in early April.
- Trying to get back on track, Tom Wilhelmson has learned a new pitch. Good story from Bob Condotta.
- Lefty Roenis Elias had an excellent season in Double-A last year, and I have him penciled in to the Tacoma starting rotation. Not so fast, writes Greg Johns – he might skip Tacoma and make the big club.
- McClendon says that Elias is very interesting.
- Scott Baker continues to make strides in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, Todd Milles writes.
- Stefen Romero is making a move to try to break camp with the Mariners.
- Bob Dutton has a detailed story about the contract issues that come into play at this point in spring training.
- Weekend exhibition games: on Sunday, Roenis Elias tossed a gem in a 5-3 win over the Angels… new Mariners closer Fernando Rodney managed to get ejected from a spring training game in Saturday’s 13-6 loss to the Giants. That’s not easy to do… and on Friday, Stefen Romero homered and potential Rainiers flame-throwing reliever Dominic Leone escaped a nasty jam in 2-2 tie with the Rockies.
- Two former Rainiers landed jobs this week, according to Baseball America’s minor league transactions: pitcher Nate Robertson signed with Detroit, and speedster Darren Ford is back with the Giants.
- The story of the weekend came from ESPN’s Jim Caple, on Latroy Hawkins and his tight relationship with his fan club.