The Mariners Sunday announced 10 roster moves, including the demotion of LHP Roenis Elias, a rotation candidate at the start of spring training, to AAA Tacoma. The move means that Taijuan Walker will begin the 2015 season as the No. 5 starter. The Mariners now have 28 players (27 roster, one non-roster invitee) on a roster that must be trimmed to 25 by Saturday in advance of Opening Day (April 6).
The Mariners also sent RHP Carson Smith to the Rainiers and re-assigned RHPs Mark Lowe, Jordan Pries and Kevin Correia, LHP Joe Saunders, INFs Shawn O’Malley and Carlos Rivero, C John Baker and OF Endy Chavez to minor league camp.
Elias made 29 starts for Seattle last season, compiling a record of 10-12, 3.85. He went 0-2, 6.75 in four spring starts. Meanwhile, Walker is 2-0 in five starts and hasn’t allowed a run in 18 innings. He has 19 strikeouts vs. four walks.
Saunders went 11-16 in 32 starts for the Mariners in 2013. He spent 2014 with Texas and Baltimore before returning to Seattle this past winter as a free agent.
Baker’s demotion means that Jesus Sucre will serve as Mike Zunino’s backup behind the plate. Chavez appeared in 117 games for the Mariners over the past two seasons. Chavez returned to the club this past winter as a non-roster invitee.
Padres 8, Mariners 5
Dustin Ackley went 2-for-3 with his first spring home run, but the Mariners dropped an 8-5 decision to the San Diego Padres Sunday in Peoria, AZ. A favorite to win the AL West, the Mariners (10-15-2) have lost five consecutive Cactus League games.
The Padres jumped out to a 5-0 lead after three innings as Wil Myers and Matt Kemp homered off Seattle starter J.A. Happ as part of a three-run first inning.
Minor league outfielder Jabari Henry hit a leadoff home run in the fourth inning and Ackley banged a two-run, opposite-field shot in the seventh.
Happ (1-3), scheduled to be Seattle’s No. 4 starter, was raked for 11 hits and six runs in five innings.
The Mariners play at 1:05 p.m.Monday against the Los Angeles Angels. RHP Taijuan Walker (2-0, 0.00) is scheduled to start for Seattle against RHP Chris Tropeano.