The Mariners Sunday released Gaby Sanchez, a free agent signed Jan. 28 to compete for the platoon first base job against left-handed pitching. They also optioned OF Guillermo Heredia to AA Jackson and re-assigned to minor league camp LHP Paul Fry, catchers Marcus Littlewood and Steve Lerud, infielders Benji Gonzalez and Tyler Smith and OF Dario Pizzano.
The moves leave the Mariners with 51 players in the major league camp, including 39 roster players, nine non-roster invitees and two on the 60-day DL.
Sanchez, 32, spent last season in Japan playing for the Rakuten Eagles. He appeared in 66 games, hitting .226 with a .720 on-base plus slugging percentage, including 12 doubles, seven home runs and 18 RBI.
He played in the big leagues in 2014 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Sanchez appeared in 123 games and hit .229 with a .679 OPS, 18 doubles, seven homers and 33 RBI. In seven big-league seasons, Sanchez played in 700 games and is a career .229 hitter with a .744 OPS. His best year came in 2011, when he made the All-Star team and hit .269 that season with a .779 OPS, including 35 doubles, 19 homers and 78 RBI.
The Mariners lost 5-3 to Cincinnati Sunday when Nathan Karns gave up three runs on back to back homers in the third inning. Nelson Cruz went 0-for-3 and has yet to get a hit in spring training in 11 at-bats.