The Seattle Mariners essentially set their opening day roster on Saturday, and it will include spring star Mike Morse and speedy Charlton Jimerson as the last two position players to make the team.
The Mariners' roster became clear after they traded minor league catcher Jair Fernandez to Minnesota on Saturday in exchange for the Twins rejecting Seattle's offer to return Rule 5 draftee R.A. Dickey.
Seattle then optioned Dickey to Triple-A Tacoma in a surprising move. The knuckleballer and former No. 1 draft choice of Texas, who hasn't pitched in the major leagues in 23 months, was a spring revelation with a 2.25 ERA, only one home run allowed in 20 innings and the versatility to pitch in a variety of roles.
an and infielder Tug Hulett.
Late Friday night, Seattle optioned outfielder Jeremy Reed to Triple-A Tacoma and right-handed reliever Brandon Morrow to Double-A West Tennessee.
``We are in better shape than we were last year. And we have more options in the bullpen,'' Mariners manager John McLaren said Saturday morning.
Morse, who entered Saturday batting .508 this spring and is out of options, and Jimerson will be the reserve outfielders following Reed's demotion. Reed was Seattle's starting center fielder two years ago but has been injured and mostly at Tacoma since. He is left-handed, and McLaren preferred a right-handed reserve behind a starting outfield full of lefties.
Morrow, the fifth overall draft choice in 2006 who starred in Seattle's bullpen as a rookie last season, was supposed to be the Mariners' primary setup man. But he came down with soreness in his pitching shoulder earlier this month. He spent the winter in Venezuela as a starter, in case Seattle needed him in its rotation.
Morrow has struggled in two appearances this week following a 13-day hiatus from pitching in a game.
The Mariners sent the 23-year-old to West Tennessee instead of Tacoma so he can pitch in warmer weather next month. They expect to have him back in the bullpen soon.
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