Mariners outright Jimenez, set 30-man travel roster
Lots going on in Peoria this morning with the team and its traveling party gathering for the 13-hour flight to Tokyo at 1 p.m. today. The Mariners set their 30-player squad that will travel to Japan on the week-long trip, which concludes with two regular-season opening games against the A’s next Wednesday and Thursday.
Left-handed reliever Cesar Jimenez was outrighted to Triple-A Tacoma to clear a spot on the 40-man roster as the Mariners need to open space for several non-roster invitees. The roster now is at 37 players.
Jimenez, 27, has been in the Mariners organization since 2001 and played with the big league club in 2006, 2008 and 2011, going 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in eight games last year as a September callup.
Here’s the 30-man travel squad, which doesn’t include starting pitcher Kevin Millwood, as he’ll stay behind in Arizona since he wasn’t going to be used in either of the two exhibition or two regular-season contests:
Starting pitchers: Blake Beavan, Felix Hernandez, Hector Noesi, Jason Vargas.
Relievers: Steve Delabar, Charlie Furbush, Hisashi Iwakuma, Shawn Kelley, Brandon League, Lucas Luetge, Erasmo Ramirez, Chance Ruffin, George Sherrill, Tom Wilhelmsen.
Catchers: John Jaso, Jesus Montero, Miguel Olivo, Guillermo Quiroz.
Infielders: Dustin Ackley, Chone Figgins, Munenori Kawasaki, Alex Liddi, Brendan Ryan, Kyle Seager, Justin Smoak.
Outfielders: Mike Carp, Carlos Peguero, Michael Saunders, Ichiro Suzuki, Casper Wells.
Not traveling with the team are catchers Jesus Sucre and Adam Moore, infielders Vinnie Catricala and Luis Rodriguez, and outfielders Franklin Gutierrez and Mike Wilson. Moore and Gutierrez are both rehabilitating from injuries.
The MLB roster rules for the trip are a little complicated, but both the Mariners and A’s can take 30 players. All 30 are available for the two exhibition games against the Hanshin Tigers and Yomiuri Giants on Saturday and Sunday, but each team then must set an active roster of 28 by Wednesday at 1 p.m. in Japan on Opening Day, then designated 25 of those players to be eligible to actually play in the two-game series.
That active roster must include all players that teams expect to open the rest of the season with, so Mariners pitcher Kevin Millwood — who didn’t make the trip since he won’t be pitching — must be included in the 28. Thus three players who are in Japan will be optioned or re-assigned to the Minors on the morning of the opener and two more will be designated as ineligible to play in the two games with the A’s.
Once the club returns to Arizona, it will be back to a 28-man roster and will need to make three more moves before regular-season play resumes April 6 in Oakland. Other players already assigned to the Minors will be able to join the team to play in the five remaining Cactus League contests, as is always the case in spring.