M's Notes: Seattle hauls in Quiroz
Seattle Times staff reporter
PORTLAND — About the only thing to be gleaned from the Mariners' acquisition of catcher Guillermo Quiroz is that another move with their receivers is coming, possibly youngster Rene Rivera.
While waiting to find out if Rivera is traded, or merely optioned, one might ponder what is it about Seattle and collecting catching.
Last year, the Mariners used seven players at different times behind the plate. This weekend alone they will have five in uniform, counting Corky Miller, who was assigned to the minor-league camp on Wednesday, and Brent Johnson, a minor-leaguer up to help out in the last exhibition games.
Quiroz, who was picked up on waivers from Toronto on Friday, will join the club today or Sunday. He is rated a good catch-and-throw backstop and was reputedly on a fast track in the Blue Jays organization until suffering a collapsed lung two years ago.
Stuck behind Gregg Zaun and Bengie Molina on the depth chart, he hit only .133 this spring. Last year in 12 games with Toronto he hit .194 (7 for 36), after playing 17 games in the majors in 2004.
"We made this move for depth," Seattle general manager Bill Bavasi said.
However, having acquired Quiroz, Seattle may be trying to move some of its depth.
"We are trying to make a trade," Bavasi said. "There are possibilities that need to be pushed."
Bavasi noted that he could not be candid at this point.
"I can't give you much candor," he said. "There are people's lives and careers involved, and it's not fair to them."
Since Quiroz is out of options and must be kept on the 25-man major-league roster, it seems as if Rivera will be moved.
Rivera, 22, played fairly well when rushed to the big leagues last year but disappointed team officials with a poor camp.
While Rivera may simply be sent down to Class AAA Tacoma, one guess would be that Seattle may try to deal him elsewhere.
"In order to make deals you have to create some excess," Bavasi said. "Some guys have options, some don't."
Rivera has options left and if Quiroz, only 24, is to be kept as the backup to front-liner Kenji Johjima, then that flexibility could make him desirable in trade.
"We can be working on a trade beyond opening day," Bavasi noted. "It's not something we need to have done by that date."
Seattle made room on the 40-man roster by sending left-hander Luis Gonzalez back to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Gonzalez was a Rule 5 acquisition who was left off L.A.'s 40-man roster. According to the rules, he had to be kept on Seattle's 25-man club or offered back.
"The Dodgers took him back," Bavasi said. "He just needs more development time. We tried to trade to keep him, a cash deal, but they didn't want to do that."
Woods makes it
The move with Gonzalez means that left-hander Jake Woods has made Seattle's 25-man opening-day club.
Barring an unforeseen development — like a sudden decision to keep Cha Seung Baek, who has pitched so well in recent games — right-hander Jeff Harris is expected to join first baseman Roberto Petagine as non-roster players on the opening-day team.
Reed ready soon?
Club officials have high hopes outfielder Jeremy Reed, out for eight days after jamming his right wrist, will be ready for opening day. Bavasi said, "It looks good."
Still, the Mariners are being cautious. When Reed came to PGE Park on Friday hoping to take batting practice for the first time since his injury, he was disappointed to be told he would be using a batting tee.
"It's small steps, and I have to understand that they're doing the best they can for me, I have to take it slow," Reed said. "If the choice were mine, I'd like to get out there and see what I can do."
The Mariners will make their last four roster trims to reach the 25-man limit for opening day by the deadline of 9 p.m. PST tonight
Manager Mike Hargrove said he would tell the players who did not make the club after today's game against the Tacoma Rainiers. Actually, the only ones to be told could be Fruto and Rivera.
Another spot will be cleared by placing outfielder Chris Snelling on the 60-day disabled list as he comes back from knee surgery.
The other roster slot will be created by placing outfielder Matt Lawton on the suspended list for 10 days. Suspended for violating baseball's rules against substance abuse, Lawton will not count against Seattle's 25-man or 40-man rosters.
• The Mariners have 1,500 tickets available for Monday's opening-day game against the Angels.
Bob Finnigan: 206-464-8276 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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