Mariners send down five, including Tuiasosopo

The Mariners made five roster moves this morning, including optioning utility man Matt Tuiasosopo to Triple A Tacoma.

Also reassigned to Minor League camp were four non-roster invitees: outfielder Mike Wilson and pitchers Royce Ring, Denny Bautista and Justin Miller.

Tuiasosopo had one option remaining, so this is the last year he can be sent down to the Minors without being exposed to waivers. The option lasts all season, so he can be moved between Tacoma and Seattle all year without being waived.

Tuiasosopo was hitting .300 with one home run and eight RBIs in 40 at-bats this spring.

The Mariners now have 35 players still in Major League camp, including 27 roster players and eight non-roster invitees.

The moves with Ring, Bautista and Miller leaves the club with 14 healthy pitchers still in camp, including eight relievers. The Mariners likely will break camp with seven relievers from among the remaining group of David Pauley, Brandon League, Chris Ray, Jamey Wright, Josh Lueke, Tom Wilhelmsen, Cesar Jimenez and Aaron Laffey.

Tuiasososopo’s departure leaves the club with eight infielders, including Matt Mangini, who has been out with a sore quad muscle. Veteran non-roster invitee Adam Kennedy clearly has won the utility infield role. And with Wilson and Tuiasosopo both sent down, that leaves five outfielders — Ichiro Suzuki, Milton Bradley, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders and Franklin Gutierrez.

It’s uncertain what lies ahead with Gutierrez, however, as he’s battling a stomach issue and no answers have emerged yet on his immediate future.

It’s possible that catcher Chris Gimenez, who played for Wedge in Cleveland, could factor into the outfield equation as well. Gimenez has some Major League experience in the outfield, having played 19 games there for the Indians during his brief big league stints in 2009-10.

He can also play first or third base. Here’s a story I wrote about Gimenez robbing a home run from Michael Saunders in his first big-league game and his versatility.

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