The Mariners discarded a battery this morning, sending catcher Jeff Clement to Triple-A Tacoma and releasing right-handed reliever Tyler Walker.
That leaves 38 able-bodies players in camp, 13 more than will be lining up on the first-base line inside the Metrodome on April 6 prior to the regular-season opener against the Twins.
Clement batted .268 in 17 Cactus League games and had fallen behind Rob Johnson and Jamie Burke on the backup depth chart. Walker, who had hoped to challenge for the closer role, enncountered hamstring problems that limited him to six outings.
Those were the only two roster moves today, but more on the way and the nerves are starting to rattle.
Oufielder Mike Morse is among the players wondering what’s going to happen. If he isn’t on the 25-man Opening Day roster, he hopes another big-league team finds a spot for him. He would be a perfect fit on a National League team. The guy can hit and would be an ideal extra man on the bench to hit for the pitcher. And he can play multiple positions.
Meanwhile, on one side of the clubhouse there is a row of lockers that normally would be vacant at this late stage of camp.
“This is ‘Survival Island’ quipped pitcher Chris Jakabauskas. He and fellow right-hander Shawn Kelley have the row of six lockers all to themselves. Well, all of them except the one that has a, “Lost and Found” sign overhead.
Elsewhere, catcher Jamie Burke, who became a father for the third time on Wednesday, powered up his iPod and proudly showed the first pictures of his son, Payson. In one photo, he’s sleeping. The next one he’s yawning. And the third one was of him chilling.
As usual, Ken Griffey Jr., is holding court near his locker, a bat in his hands, a smile on his face, giving Ichiro a bad time about something. It’s Junior being Junior, which is a hoot.
Meanwhile, today’s lineup has been posted:
1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF.
2. Franklin Gutierrez, CF
3. Ken Griffey Jr., LF.
4. Adrian Beltre, 3B.
5. Mike Sweeney, DH.
6. Russell Branyan, 1B.
7. Jose Lopez, 2B.
8. Kenji Johjima, C.
9. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS.
P LH Jarrod Washburn.
— Jim Street