By Shannon Drayer
PEORIA, Ariz. – And then there were 55. The Mariners trimmed their roster down to 55 Wednesday morning, making the following moves.
Optioned to Triple-Tacoma: Danny Hultzen.
Optioned to Double-A Jackson: Anthony Fernandez, Julio Morban.
Re-assigned to minor-league camp: Jonathan Arias, Andrew Carraway, Stephen Kohlscheen, Mark Rogers, Chance Ruffin, James Gillheeney, John Hicks, Manuel Pina, Gabriel Noriega, Burt Reynolds.
Of note: Those optioned are on the 40-man roster while those re-assigned are not. There are a few injury guys included in the first cuts: Hultzen, Pina and Morban, who is still rehabbing after breaking his leg sliding into a base late last season.
Abraham Almonte, 8
Kyle Seager, 5
Robinson Cano, 4
Justin Smoak, 3
Logan Morrison, DH
Dustin Ackley, 7
Michael Saunders, 9
Nick Franklin, 6
Mike Zunino, 2
James Paxton will start and go two or three innings depending on pitch count, and he'll be followed by Brandon Maurer, who will be making his spring debut.
The lineup manager Lloyd McClendon is putting out there is very representative of what could be the opening-day lineup.
Abraham Almonte is getting a serious look in center and it appears that there is a true battle at shortstop. As I mentioned in my post on outfield defense I think we could see Michael Saunders played in all three positions and there he is in right on Wednesday.
What remains to be seen is how much Corey Hart can play there. It is impossible to tell right now. He has yet to play in the field in a game but I wouldn't read too much into that as McClendon has made it clear that he will bring both Hart and Logan Morrison along slowly in the field.
• Fernando Rodney is scheduled to throw an inning in Thursday's game against the White Sox.