Notes: Another catcher comes aboard
Mariners claim young Quiroz on waivers from Blue Jays
PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Seattle Mariners, taking the approach that they can't have too many catchers, claimed Guillermo Quiroz on waivers from Toronto on Friday.It wasn't a move based on need as much as it provides some depth and perhaps enhances general manager Bill Bavasi's ability to pull off a trade. "He was good enough to claim,'' said Bavasi, who accompanied the club here as the Mariners played the Triple-A Portland Beavers in their second-to-last exhibition game. "We're trying to create some excess. In order to make a deal, you try to create some excess.'' The Mariners, who used seven catchers last season, have enough talent at the position seemingly to last another decade. The club signed Kenji Johjima, the best catcher in Japan, to a three-year deal during the offseason. The club also used its first-round draft choice last June to select USC's Jeff Clement, a potential star who is a year or two away. The club also has backup Rene Rivera, a former second-round choice in 2001. Two other backstops also impressed the coaching staff this spring, Rob Johnson, a fourth-round pick in 2004, and journeyman Corky Miller. Bavasi said this kind of organizational depth provides a framework for trading. "You can't pretend to make a deal if you don't have excess,'' he said. "A year from now we feel we'll have a ton of excess in the system.'' When asked if a trade was possible, Bavasi said, "Could be. There's always a possibility.'' Quiroz, 24, has some big-league experience. He played 12 games for the Blue Jays last season, hitting .194 (7-for-36) with four RBIs. He also played 17 games for Toronto in 2004. He's out of Minor League options, so the club either has to keep him on the roster or put him on waivers and hope that he clears. Rivera, on the other hand, still has options and could be more easily moved back to the Minors to allow him to play every day. He also would be more desirable in a trade because of his options and low salary. "It's too soon to say A, B, C and D are going to happen,'' manager Mike Hargrove said. "We have different options and different ways to go.'' To make room for Quiroz on the 40-man roster, the club returned left-hander Luis Gonzalez to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Gonzalez, 23, was acquired Dec. 15 from Colorado after the Rockies selected him in the 2005 Rule 5 draft from the Dodgers. "He's got some things to take care of, developmentally,'' Bavasi said. "But a lot of young guys need to do the same things. We attempted to deal for him and tried to buy him.'' The Mariners need to set their 25-man roster by 9 p.m. PT Saturday. Reed hopeful: Jeremy Reed, who injured his right wrist March 23 in a run-in with the outfield wall, is not ruling out the possibility that he could start, or at least be available, for Monday's opener. Reed originally was diagnosed with a broken wrist, but it was later determined to be sprained. He has been rehabbing, although has not taken batting practice yet. He swung the bat lightly in the cages before Friday's game.
"It feels great. It's coming together the best I think it can,'' Reed said. "I'm taking it in small steps. It's frustrating because I have to take it slow. I want to be out there as much as anybody. Hopefully, I can get out there Opening Day.''Hargrove said that if Reed "can continue to do what he's doing, take a lot of batting practice and not have any setbacks, I assume he'll be ready to play.'' The club also could buy some time by placing him on the 15-day disabled list. It would be retroactive to the injury date, so he could come off the DL next Saturday. "If that's the case, then that might be better for the team and for me,'' Reed said. "But I hope it's not the case.'' Woods on roster? With the departure of Gonzalez, it dramatically improves the chances that lefty reliever Jake Woods will make the 25-man roster. Woods, who was claimed from the Angels over the winter, has appeared in six spring games and carries a 6.95 ERA. He would give the club three lefties in the bullpen, joining George Sherrill and closer Eddie Guardado. Hargrove would not reveal the final roster decisions, but when asked if there could be a pair of lefty setup guys, he said that "there's a decent chance that will happen.'' Hargrove said he and Bavasi have settled on the roster but won't announce it until he has a chance to talk to all the players before Saturday's game. The sticky problem is finding a 40-man roster spot for reliever Jeff Harris, should he make the team as expected. Johjima closes in: Johjima, whose dream has been to one day play in the Major Leagues, is just a couple of days away from that reality. "I don't know what exactly is the word, but all my feelings are at a higher state,'' said Johjima, who played 11 seasons in Japan before signing a three-year deal with the Mariners over the winter. Mariners log: The Mariners close out the exhibition season Saturday afternoon in Tacoma against their Triple-A affiliate, the Rainiers. However, there is a good chance of rain. If it rains, the Mariners intend to still play 30 miles north up Interstate 5 under the Safeco Field roof. That decision will be announced by the club as soon as possible to facilitate the fans' movement from one site to another. If there is a Tacoma rainout, the game at Safeco will have a free admission. Fans holding tickets to the Tacoma game can seek a refund through the Rainiers. The Rainiers will announce the refund procedure on their web site. ... Gil Meche will make his final spring start Saturday. ... Bavasi said there is no truth to the rumor out of Pittsburgh that the club was considering trading starter Joel Pineiro for Pirates outfielder Craig Wilson. Bavasi said he didn't want to even spend a minute denying the false report. ... The Mariners had a situation they had hoped to avoid Friday -- a rain delay. They played 3 1/3 innings against the Beavers before a downpour delayed the game for 75 minutes. Play resumed just after 9 p.m. PT, pushing the team's arrival to Seattle to well past midnight. The Mariners won, 6-1. ... The game attracted 19,589 fans to PGE Park, the second largest since the stadium's renovation in 2001.
Bob Sherwin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.