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Mariners sign onetime Giants closer Hunter Strickland

New Mariners relief pitcher Hunter Strickland recorded 14 saves for the Giants in 2018. (AP)

The Mariners may have found their closer for the 2019 season.

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Hunter Strickland, a hard-throwing right-hander who spent some time closing for the San Francisco Giants last season, has signed a contract with Seattle, the team announced Sunday.

To make room for Strickland on the 40-man roster, the Mariners designated 25-year-old right-handed pitcher Max Povse for assignment. Povse was 5–9 with a 5.46 ERA in 18 starts combined with Double-A Arkansas and Triple-A Tacoma in 2018, and he made three relief appearances with the Mariners in 2017. He was out from July 15 through the end of the 2018 season with a right shoulder strain.

The deal with Strickland, 30, is reported to be for one year, according to MLB reporter Ken Rosenthal. However, since Strickland was non-tendered by the Giants this offseason, the Mariners will have the option of three years of club control if they retain him under the arbitration process, per Rosenthal.

In 2018, Strickland posted a 3.97 ERA with 14 saves over 45 1/3 innings (49 appearances), a season shortened by a fractured hand that kept him out from mid-June to mid-August. He appeared in 55 games in 2015, 72 in 2016 and 68 in 2017.

“Hunter Strickland has the ability and the track record to be an impact reliever in high-leverage situations for the Mariners in 2019,” Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a press release.

Mariners manager Scott Servais said that the right-handed reliever has been of interest to Seattle this offseason in an interview Thursday with 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton.

“Hunter’s a guy that’s been on our radar,” Servais said. “Hunter’s a guy who’s been out on the free agent market and a guy we’ve been interested in.”

During a pre-spring training press conference Thursday morning, general manager Jerry Dipoto alluded to an addition to the Mariners bullpen being made “in the coming days.”

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