Heredia among seven sent down on Sunday
Recently signed Cuban outfielder Guillermo Heredia was among seven Mariners sent down to Minor League camp on Sunday as the club reduced its Spring Training roster to 51 players.
Heredia, 25, hasn’t played in the past two years due to his defection to Mexico, but is regarded as a speedy center fielder with a good glove. After spraining an ankle in his first week in camp, Heredia made his Cactus League debut on Friday with one inning on defense and then had two at-bats late in Saturday’s 8-4 loss to the Dodgers, going 0-for-1 with a sacrifice bunt.
Since he is on the 40-man roster, Heredia was officially optioned to Double-A Jackson. Six other non-roster invitees were reassigned to Minor League camp – left-handed reliever Paul Fry, catchers Marcus Littlewood and Steve Lerud, infielders Benji Gonzalez and Tyler Smith and outfielder Dario Pizzano.
Lerud, 31, is the only one in the group with Major League experience. He played nine games with the Phillies in 2012-13 and spent last year with the Nationals’ Triple-A Syracuse club before signing with Seattle as a Minor League free agent.
Fry, Littlewood, Gonzalez, Smith and Pizzano are all Mariners’ Minor Leaguers who were invited to camp this spring. Fry’s departure leaves Seattle with just three left-handed relievers in camp in Charlie Furbush, Vidal Nuno and David Rollins, though starter Mike Montgomery could be used in that role as well.
The club is now down to five catchers, with Chris Iannetta, Steve Clevenger, Mike Zunino, Steven Baron and newly-acquired Rob Brantly.
There are eight outfielders still competing for five spots – Nori Aoki, Leonys Martin, Seth Smith, Franklin Gutierrez, Nelson Cruz, Stefen Romero, Boog Powell and non-roster invitee Daniel Robertson.
The Mariners now have 39 roster players, 10 non-roster invitees and two players on the 60-day disabled list still in Major League camp. They’ll need to get down to 25 before Opening Day on April 4 in Texas.