Mariners notebook: More roster cuts as Seattle gets down to 39

Mar 20, 2015, 11:18 AM | Updated: 11:39 am
Jesus Montero was one of 11 players optioned to Triple-A or reassigned to minor league camp Friday....
Jesus Montero was one of 11 players optioned to Triple-A or reassigned to minor league camp Friday. (AP)
(AP)

PEORIA, Ariz. – And then there were 39. The Mariners announced another round of roster moves Friday morning.

Optioned to AAA Tacoma

• Lucas Luetge
• John Hicks
• Ketel Marte
• James Jones
• Stefen Romero

Re-assigned to minor league camp

• Justin Germano
• Rafael Perez
• D.J. Peterson
• Patrick Kivlehan
• Franklin Gutierrez

A mix of needing innings and at-bats for those who are expected to make the final roster and the need to get those who will not be ready for the season necessitated the moves. Among the roster cuts were two players who spent significant time with the big league club last year – Stefen Romero and James Jones.

“It was tough,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “One thing I explained to the camp when it opened is when you become good, it becomes very difficult to make a club. The options become tougher and I think that was the case with both of these young men. It’s not so much what they did or didn’t do, it’s just the type of talent we acquired that they are pushed back to Triple-A.”

On paper, the depth in the organization heading into spring training was apparent. What McClendon saw with his eyes these past four weeks only confirmed that.

“I like ’em all. I think they all grew up a little bit in this camp,” he said.

Another name of interest on the list of players leaving big league camp was Jesus Montero. McClendon gave him a little push a couple of days ago, saying there were things he needed to do to fix his swing and get back to what he was his first full season in the bigs. Another push came this morning.

I think the message is clear – they are proud of what he has done to turn things around physically, now he needs to take that determination and apply it to improving his baseball skills. Nothing will be handed to him. He needs to keep going.

“Montero, he’s got to play,” McClendon said. “The at-bats weren’t here, and the one thing I told him is the competition at Triple-A is going to be tough. You have got to go compete, and you have to compete for at-bats and I think he’s prepared to do that.”

There are a number of young players the Mariners will want to see get everyday at-bats with Tacoma, and first base and DH, Montero’s positions, may be needed to do so. As McClendon said, he will have to compete to get those at-bats.

Someone else who will have to compete for at-bats will be Gutierrez, who has yet to return to the playing field.

“He just hasn’t been able to get out on the field and that playing time is just not there anymore,” McClendon said. “The opportunity is there at the Triple-A level and we will see if he can get over there, get back on the field and compete.”

Lineup!

Jackson 8
Bloomquist 3
Ruggiano 7
Cruz 9
Zunino DH
Rivero 5
Smith 6
Sucre 2
O’Malley 4

Elias

The Mariners take on the Rangers at Surprise Stadium at 1:05 p.m. today. The game can be heard live on 710 ESPN Seattle. There is no TV today.

Notes

• The competition for the second lefty in the pen spot has narrowed with a couple of lefties being sent down today. While he is pleased with what he has seen from the remaining southpaws, McClendon reiterated this morning that he is not locked into taking two lefties in the pen.

• Rickie Weeks was scheduled to play yesterday but missed the game as he was sick. He will get 10 at-bats on the minor league side today.

No starting pitcher.

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Mariners notebook: More roster cuts as Seattle gets down to 39