BY John Hickey 11:22AM 03/27/2011

Tui, Ring sent down; Gutierrez headed for DL

Five more roster moves leave Mariners in position for a surprise name on final 25-man roster.

Matt Tuiasosopo - Seattle Mariners - 2010 - 2

Matt Tuiasosopo will start the season in the minor leagues after being sent down Sunday. / Ben Van Houten, Mariners

The Mariners crept closer to their final 25-man roster Sunday morning when they made five roster moves, including sending down utility man Matt Tuiasosopo, who was on last year’s opening day roster.

His name wasn’t the biggest surprise on the list, because it was going to take severe machinations to get the first baseman/left fielder on the roster.

However, left-handed reliever Royce Ring, who was widely expected to make the roster, was assigned to the club’s minor league camp, along with outfielder Mike Wilson, right-hander Denny Bautista and right-hander Justin Miller.

The series of moves means the Mariners have 35 players left in camp, eight of whom are non-roster players. Some of those come out of Sunday’s move with more reason to smile than others, and chief among them is left-handed reliever Cesar Jimenez. He’s had a rotten spring, despite one shutout inning Saturday, and it was widely assumed that he’d be the loser when Ring made the roster.

But Ring is a non-roster player and Jimenez is on the roster and it seems at this point the Mariners aren’t willing to take a chance that they’d lose Jimenez on waivers, which they’d have to offer if they tried to put him on the Tacoma roster.

And infielder Josh Wilson, one of the absolute favorites among his teammates, is still alive and kicking despite the Mariners’ obvious inclination to go with non-roster infielder Adam Kennedy as the No. 1 backup. Wilson could still find himself left out, but now the Mariners have openings for a roster surprise to start the season, and he could be the man.

Still appearing as locks to make the roster are Kennedy, pitchers Chris Ray and Jamey Wright and outfielder Ryan Langerhans.

It seems more likely than ever that center fielder Franklin Gutierrez will not be on the opening day roster. He is not in Sunday’s lineup. He has not played in more than a week.

The Mariners, who thought they’d gotten definite answers to Gutierrez’s stomach problems two weeks ago, have seen Gutierrez continue to struggle with his health. They have yet to get results of the latest set of tests on Gutierrez.

Gutierrez will be one of five players to start the season on the DL – pitchers David Aardsma (hip surgery), Shawn Kelley (Tommy John-style ligament replacement surgery), Nate Robertson (elbow bone chip removal) and infielder Matt Mangini (quad strain).

Twitter: @JHickey3


  • James Dahl

    The 2011 Season is nearly upon us. The 2011 Mariners on paper shape up to have the weakest hitting big league team I’ve ever seen. Their lineup is weaker than nearly every expansion team that has ever been assembled. The 1969 Pilots and 1977 Mariners were certainly more interesting on paper than these guys. The 2011 M’s truly are a glorified AAA team.

    I can understand and appreciate rebuilding, but what I can’t get my arms around is how/why ownership is putting such an abysmal product on the field.

    Ichiro is the best player on the team, but he is merely a slap singles hitter. For the contributions he makes he is dramatically overpaid. That has been a sore spot for me for a number of years now. Gutierrez is a terrific fielder, but is a below average hitting starting major league outfielder. Milton Bradley (aside from having lots of off-field problems) can’t hit fastballs any longer. That folks is our outfield. No production. No pop. Ryan Langerhans is a really good AAA outfielder. Saunders is a great athlete, but not a Major League outfielder with the lumber.

    On the infield we are talking about a collection of guys that likely would not start anywhere else but in Seattle. This includes Chone Figgins. His magical 2-year run in California was a fluke that won’t soon be repeated. If he gets off to any kind of start Seattle should trade him ASAP.

    I don’t need to get into how poor the bullpen is going to be, as with this OFFENSIVE offensive lineup it really does not matter. It is a collection of pieces and parts that has absolutely no chance of being able to close out games.

    I hate to be so pessimistic, but I’m just frustrated. I can’t recall a season I have had less enthusiasm about than this one. Seattle’s rebuilding plan is so far from paying dividends – it makes it hard to care much at all.

    Kennedy, Wilson, Langerhans, Olivo. Are you kidding me?