BY John Hickey 06:53PM 01/25/2011

Ray 11th non-roster pitcher for the Mariners

Veteran former closer could make the Mariners out of spring training with Aardsma, Kelley hurting.

Reliever Chris Ray had 33 saves for the Orioles in 2006. He split time between Texas and San Francisco last season / Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons

With the status of relievers David Aardsma and Shawn Kelley up in the air to start the season, the Seattle Mariners keep mining for possible bullpen help.

The latest addition to the group is right-hander Chris Ray. The one-time Baltimore closer pitched for both World Series teams, San Francisco and Texas, last year, although he didn’t pitch in the post-season.

Ray was signed to a Minor League deal and invited to spring training. He is the 11th non-roster pitcher to get an invitation to camp, which commences Feb. 14 in Peoria, AZ.

Until his career was derailed by an elbow injury that led to Tommy John-style ligament replacement surgery, Ray was one of the game’s up-and-coming closers. He had 33 saves in 2006 and 18 more in 2007 before getting hurt and needing surgery in August of that season.

Kelley won’t be with the Mariners to start the season because of a partial Tommy John surgery. Aardsma will likely not pitch in the big leagues until May because of hip surgery.

Ray had a nice season in 2010, going 5-0 with a 3.72 ERA for Texas and San Francisco. The Rangers traded him well before the trade deadline (July 1) to the Giants in the deal that sent catcher Bengie Molina to the Rangers.

With Ray eligible for salary arbitration, the Giants declined to offer him a contract.

John Hickey is a Senior MLB Writer for AOL FanHouse (
Twitter: @JHickey3


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