By Shannon Drayer
PEORIA, Ariz.,- The Mariners have announced that they have granted Scott Baker's request to be released. Prior to releasing him the team offered him a spot in the rotation at Triple-A Tacoma but he declined. He is now free to sign with any team.
Baker came into the spring as a favorite for the number 3 spot in the starting rotation despite the fact that he was coming off Tommy John surgery. While his pre-surgery velocity had returned he had command issues from time to time and his spring training numbers were among the worst of those competing for a spot in the starting rotation. He had the look of a pitcher that was coming back but having not pitched more than 4 innings in a start and with with Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijaun Walker starting the season on the disabled list the Mariners needed him ready now.
Baker's departure leaves Erasmo Ramirez, Blake Beavan, Randy Wolf and Roenis Elias as the remaining competitors for the final three spots in the rotation. Beavan's chances took a hit Monday as he surrendered 7 runs in the 5 1/3 innings he pitched. Ramirez is scheduled to pitch Wednesday against Texas and starters for the final two games of the spring have yet to be announced but Elias will most likely get one of those.
With the release of Baker the Mariners spring training roster is now at 38.