The Mariners made their first significant roster moves of the spring Sunday, optioning LHPs Danny Hultzen and Mike Kickham and OF Julio Morban to the AAA Tacoma Rainiers. The Mariners also re-assigned seven to their minor league camp, leaving the club with 51 players, including 37 roster players and 14 non-roster invitees.
The Mariners sent RHPs Sam Gaviglio, Stephen Landazuri and Forrest Snow, Cs Steven Baron, Mike Dowd and Tyler Marlette and OF Jordy Lara to the minor leagues. In addition, Marcus Littlewood, who had been on extended loan, returned to minor league camp.
Considered one of the prime prospects in the Seattle organization, Hultzen has battled injuries the past two years. The Mariners selected him in the first round (second overall) of the 2011 free agent draft. The plan has been to put Hultzen at AAA so he can compete for a rotation spot in 2016.
“I think it’s something that we have to be right on with, making sure that this young man is healthy throughout the year,” McClendon told mariners.com. “I will say, if anything, we’re going to err on the side of caution with him — particularly with the number of innings, number of pitches per inning. But at the same time we have to treat him like he’s a healthy pitcher.”
Dodgers 5, Mariners 2
Starting pitcher Roenis Elias (0-1) was touched for six hits and two runs in 3.2 innings Sunday as the Mariners dropped 5-2 Cactus League decision to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Peoria, AZ. The Mariners are 6-7 in Cactus action and won’t play until Tuesday, following a day off Monday.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (2-0) picked up the win, allowing one run in 3.1 innings. The reigning National League MVP and Cy Young award winner allowed one run on four hits in his outing, walking three and striking out three. RHP Joe Wieland notched his first save of the spring.
Seattle relief pitchers David Rollins (1.1 IP, 2 K), RHP Danny Farquhar (1.0 IP), LHP Tyler Olson (1.0 IP) and RHP Justin Germano (0.1 IP) recorded scoreless outings.
The Mariners take on the Chicago White Sox Tuesday. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma will start for Seattle . . . Taijuan Walker leads qualifying Cactus League pitchers with a 0.00 ERA . . . The Mariners have hit 11 home runs this spring, by 10 players . . . LHP Tyler Olson ranks T4 in the Cactus League with eight strikeouts. Olson has faced 18 batters this spring (6.0 IP) in three relief outings, and has retired all 18 batters. The Spokane native and Gonzaga product combined to go 12-8 with a 3.46 ERA in 27 G/GS with A High Desert and AA Jackson last season.
Thursday, comedian Will Ferrell suited up for 10 MLB teams, including the Mariners, as part of a special for HBO. Most were amused by Ferrell, but not legendary NFL coach/broadcaster John Madden, who ripped the stunt as a ridiculous charade.