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Mariners notebook: A new role for one of the longest-tenured Mariners

Rick Griffin announced that he will transition to the role of Athletic Trainer Emeritus. (AP)

After 35 years of the day in, day out baseball grind, both in and out of season, one of the longest tenured Mariners is taking a step back. Friday morning Head Athletic Trainer and Senior Director of Athletic Training Rick Griffin announced that beginning with the 2018 season, he will transition to the role of Athletic Trainer Emeritus. Griffin will remain involved with the Mariners on and of the field, but no longer work in the training room daily.

Drayer: Dipoto talks lessons learned from trading away Chris Taylor

The move has been in the works for some time for Griffin who began his Mariners career Feb. 3, 1983 and worked his 5,543rd regular season game Oct. 1 in Anaheim.

“I have spent the past 35 seasons as the head athletic trainer with the Mariners, a tremendous experience that has allowed me to create amazing relationships with players and staff members from Jim Beattie, Mark Langston and Alvin Davis to Jay Buhner and Ken Griffey Jr. to Robinson Canó, Felix Hernández and Kyle Seager,” said Griffin in the press release. “I value those friendships more than I can say. Moving to this new role will allow me to continue to be involved with the Mariners organization, its players, staff and fans, but will not require the year around, 24-7 demands of the past three-and-a-half decades.”

Prior to joining the Mariners as their second-ever head trainer, Griffin was a full time athletic trainer at the Sports Medicine Clinic in Seattle and served as athletic trainer for the Cincinnati Reds affiliate Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest League. His Mariners training staff has received a number of MLB awards including Major League Athletic Training Staff of the Year following the 1999 season and the Martin-Monahan Award as the best medical staff in MLB after the 2013 season.

“On behalf of the Mariners franchise I want to thank Rick for everything he has done for the Seattle Mariners,” said Jerry Dipoto. “He has truly touched every team and every player of the past 35 seasons, and his impact will continue to be felt for years to come. We’re thankful that he has agreed to continue as Athletic Trainer Emeritus, giving all of us the benefit of his expertise even as he takes a step back from the day-to-day grind of the baseball season.”

In addition to his work with the Mariners, Griffin has served on the training staff of four American League All Star teams, lectured in Japan and for over three decades provided medical coverage at professional rodeos in Montana. He is a recipient of the Keith Peterson Life-Time Achievement Award in Rodeo Sports Medicine.

 Notes:

The Mariners have claimed infielder Zach Vincej off waivers from the Reds. Primarily a shortstop, Vincej went 1-for-9 in his first big league callup this year and hit .272/.339/.361/.700. With the move the Mariners 40-man roster is now 37.

-Curious about minor league options? Vincej has all three remaining. Andrew Romine who was claimed off waivers from Detroit on Thursday is out of options.

-If you are not on Twitter, and you should be (follow @shannondrayer), then you might not be up to date on the progress being made on the new field installation. Head Groundskeeper Bob Christopherson (@BCsodfather) has had some great pics.

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