BY John Hickey 01:16PM 03/25/2011

Mariners return Flores to Cleveland

Rule 5 pick taken back by the Indians after he clears waivers; Mariners wanted to keep him in the minor leagues.

Mariner Miguel Olivo will get a start in Friday night's game against the Dodgers, but he won't catch Rule 5 pitcher Jose Flores, who is being returned to Cleveland. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

The Mariners made another move to open up roster space with the season a week away by returning right-handed pitcher Jose Flores to Cleveland.

The 21-year-old Flores was picked up by Seattle in the Rule 5 draft in December, and he was going to be given a chance to make the 25-man roster this spring.

However, he didn’t show much and only appeared in four games, getting just 3.2 innings and coming out of it with a 12.27 ERA.

Under baseball rules, the Mariners had to be put on the Mariners’ 25-man roster or be offered back to the Indians for $25,000, which is half the drafting fee. The Mariners wanted to move him to their minor league roster, but the Indians decided instead to take him back.

Flores passed through waivers before the Indians got him back.

The Mariners now have 38 men on the 40-man roster and will have to find at least three more openings between now and setting the roster mid-week prior to next Friday’s start of the regular season in Oakland.

As of now, it appears the Mariners will put three non-roster pitchers – Chris Ray, Jamey Wright and Royce Ring – on the big league roster along with non-roster infielder Adam Kennedy and non-roster outfielder Ryan Langerhans.

NOTES: Catcher Miguel Olivo is expected to get tonight’s start against the Dodgers in Peoria. … The Mariners are playing their only split-squad game of the spring Friday, with a road game against the Cubs in Mesa on the afternoon docket. … Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, still having trouble with stomach illness, isn’t in the lineup for either game.

Twitter: @JHickey3


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