Mariners deal Ramirez to Rays for Montgomery

Mariners deal Ramirez to Rays for Montgomery

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez was traded to Tampa Bay on Tuesday for left-hander Mike Montgomery as Seattle acquired a former first-round Draft pick in return for a pitcher who was out of Minor League options.

Ramirez, 24, was one of Seattle's top pitching prospects in 2012, when he was first called up, and he's started 35 games for the Mariners over the past three years. But he has struggled with consistency the past two seasons.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Felix labors, exits early in final spring tuneup

Felix labors, exits early in final spring tuneup

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Felix Hernandez completed his fourth and final Cactus League start on Tuesday and the results were not good. Six days before his eighth Opening Day start, the Mariners' ace threw out a clunker in an 8-6 loss to the Indians.

Had this been a regular season game, alarm bells would be going off after the 28-year-old lasted just 1 2/3 innings while giving up seven runs on five hits, two walks and a hit batsman. But this is spring and, while not thrilled with the result, Hernandez and manager Lloyd McClendon shrugged it off.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McClendon's magic number? 4 runs a game

Mariners ranked 11th in American League in runs scored last season

McClendon's magic number? 4 runs a game

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Lloyd McClendon calls it the "the magic number" for his 2015 Mariners. Consistently score four runs a game, the skipper says, and good things will happen.

Of course, there's nothing really magical about it. The facts spoke loud and clear last season. With one of baseball's best pitching staffs holding up its end of the bargain, the Mariners were monsters when they put four or more on the board.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cruz, Weeks provide pop in loss to Indians

Cruz, Weeks provide pop in loss to Indians

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Mariners ace Felix Hernandez labored in his final outing of the spring, bowing out before the end of the second inning in an 8-6 Cactus League loss to the Indians on Tuesday at Goodyear Ballpark. Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon was ejected during the defeat.

The Indians, who featured the bulk of their projected Opening Day lineup, struck for seven runs on five hits against Hernandez in his 1 2/3 innings.

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McClendon ejected after benches are warned

McClendon ejected after benches are warned

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- A pair of questionable pitches from Indians starter Bruce Chen led to a heated exchange on the field and the ejection of Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon in an 8-6 loss Cactus League loss on Tuesday at Goodyear Ballpark.

In the top of the fourth inning, Chen threw two pitches behind the back of Rickie Weeks, prompting both benches to be warned by home-plate umpire Alan Porter after the second. The Mariners utility man had launched a leadoff homer off Chen in the first inning and Seattle ace Felix Hernandez hit Michael Brantley in the leg with a pitch in the second inning.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McClendon ejected, runs across outfield to leave game

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McClendon ejected, runs across outfield to leave game

You already know that Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon is an ejection artist. We know you're familiar with his early work as well as some of his later shenanigans. But this week, McClendon cemented his status as the Marina Abramovic of getting kicked out of ballgames.

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Mariners release veteran outfielder Chavez

Mariners release veteran outfielder Chavez

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Veteran outfielder Endy Chavez was released by the Mariners on Tuesday after opting out of his Minor League contract. Chavez, 37, played 177 games over the past two seasons with Seattle in his second stint with the club.

Two other veterans -- outfielder Franklin Gutierrez and left-hander Joe Saunders -- were released from their Minor League deals, but they were re-signed to Triple-A contracts and will remain with the organization.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Zunino taking charge with Mariners' pitchers

McClendon impressed with catcher's development, play this spring

Zunino taking charge with Mariners' pitchers

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mike Zunino has caught more games and innings than any catcher in the Cactus League this spring, but Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon says both the 24-year-old and his pitching staff are benefiting from the early work load.

"He came in in great shape and there's some things we wanted to see him do this spring, and he's starting to do them," McClendon said on Tuesday. "Taking charge of the staff, running that staff, getting them to do the things he needs them to do to be successful during the course of a game. Sometimes you have to pull the whip out. He's done all those things. I think it's taken him the whole six weeks to get all of that out of the staff. That's why he's played as much as he's played."

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cruz may hold the key to the Mariners' World Series hopes

Newcomer provides big bat for a club that fell a game short of the playoffs in 2014

Cruz may hold the key to the Mariners' World Series hopes

PEORIA, Ariz. -- When the Mariners improved by 16 wins last season but still fell one shy of an American League playoff spot, the obvious missing link was a big bat in the middle of the lineup behind Robinson Cano. So when you're looking to a key player for Seattle's success in 2015, it's hard to overlook the imposing presence of newcomer Nelson Cruz.

The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Dominican brings a power bat to a Mariners lineup looking for that threatening thump. The club hasn't had a 30-home-run player since Russell Branyan hit 31 in 2009. Cruz smashed 40 homers last season for the Orioles, as he earned his third AL All-Star bid and helped his team to the postseason for the fourth time in the past five seasons.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Walker doesn't flinch against Trout and Pujols

Walker doesn't flinch against Trout and Pujols

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Opening Day approaches. With every page that is torn off the calendar, as we say farewell to March and get ready to welcome April, the baseball just gets better.

On Monday afternoon at Peoria Sports Complex, the best pitcher in the Cactus League this spring, 22-year-old Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker, stood tall against Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, two of the best hitters of the last decade.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McClendon offers preview of Opening Day lineup

Mariners release veteran right-hander Correia

McClendon offers preview of Opening Day lineup

PEORIA, Ariz. -- If you're curious about Seattle's likely Opening Day lineup, Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon acknowledged Monday's initial starting nine against the Angels will likely mirror what he goes with in a week when the same two teams square off at Safeco Field to kick off the regular season.

"If we face a right-hander, yeah, it most likely would be my Opening Day lineup," said McClendon, who has previously been reluctant to pin down an exact batting order.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Walker stifles powerful Angels as torrid spring continues

After allowing first run of spring, righty retires final 17 batters in Mariners win

Walker stifles powerful Angels as torrid spring continues

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Young right-hander Taijuan Walker continued his dominant spring for the Mariners by allowing just one run over seven innings and catcher Mike Zunino hit his seventh home run as Seattle beat the Angels, 5-3, on Monday at Peoria Stadium.

Walker, 22, allowed his first run in six Cactus League starts on a second-inning blast by Angels left fielder Matt Joyce, but closed out his day by recording 18 straight outs. He gave up three hits with no walks and five strikeouts, putting his spring ERA at 0.36 with nine hits, four walks and 24 strikeouts in 25 innings. Angels right-hander Nick Tropeano allowed four runs on seven hits in six-plus innings to put his Cactus League ERA at 4.41.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Red-hot Zunino showing off newfound plate discipline

Mariners catcher leads all Cactus League catchers with 17 starts

Red-hot Zunino showing off newfound plate discipline

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Taijuan Walker has been the talk of the Mariners this spring, and rightfully so, having allowed just one run in 25 innings as he's put the hammer down on Seattle's fifth starting spot in the rotation. But the guy he was throwing to in Monday's 5-3 victory over the Angels could be an even more important story in the big picture.

Catcher Mike Zunino, the other half of Seattle's young battery, continued his own impressive Cactus League season with a home run and key two-run double, raising his batting average to .354 and increasing his team lead in RBIs to 13.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

'That was for him': Henry dedicates special day to Sanchez

Mariners prospect gets last-minute call, hits HR against Padres

'That was for him': Henry dedicates special day to Sanchez

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Jabari Henry could have simply relished his own moment in the sun, an amazing story on its own after being called off a Minor League field at the last moment and told by general manager Jack Zduriencik that he was needed to start as an injury fill-in for the Mariners' Cactus League game against the Padres ... and then proceeded to smack a home run in his second at-bat in Seattle's 8-5 loss at Peoria Stadium.

But the 24-year-old outfielder wasn't performing just for himself Sunday. His good friend and Minor League teammate Victor Sanchez died in Venezuela on Saturday and Henry was playing this one for the big right-hander.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Happ labors again vs. Padres, Henry, Ackley go deep

Seattle starter allows five earned runs on 11 hits

Happ labors again vs. Padres, Henry, Ackley go deep

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Justin Upton had three hits and Wil Myers and Matt Kemp each hit home runs Sunday to lift the Padres to a 8-5 victory over the Mariners at the Peoria Sports Complex.

San Diego pitcher Andrew Cashner, the projected No. 3 starter, allowed one run on four hits with one walk and six strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners option Elias, Smith to Triple-A, reassign 8 others

Moves could clear way for Walker to be named fifth starter

Mariners option Elias, Smith to Triple-A, reassign 8 others

PEORIA, Ariz. -- With just a week remaining until Opening Day, the Mariners moved closer to their final 25-man roster on Sunday by removing 10 players from Major League camp, including left-handed starter Roenis Elias and right-handed reliever Carson Smith.

The moves bring Seattle's roster to 28 players. The final 25-man squad must be set by Saturday, in preparation for the April 6 opener against the Angels at Safeco Field.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners prospect Sanchez dies in Venezuela

The 20-year-old pitcher had been injured in boating accident in February

Mariners prospect Sanchez dies in Venezuela

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Victor Sanchez, one of the Mariners' top pitching prospects, died in Venezuela from head injuries sustained in a boating accident in his home country six weeks ago.

The Mariners confirmed the news Saturday night after MLB.com initially learned of Sanchez's death from his agent, Rafa Nieves. Sanchez was 20 years old and had been in the Mariners' Minor League system since signing as an international free agent at 16.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners scratch Smith due to sore ankle

Mariners scratch Smith due to sore ankle

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Right fielder Seth Smith was scratched from the Mariners' lineup Sunday against the Padres with a sore ankle, though manager Lloyd McClendon said the injury was minor.

"He rolled his ankle a little bit yesterday," McClendon said. "It's a little swollen. It's just precautionary. We're not going to let him play today. Seventh game of the World Series, he'd be in there."

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Position battles mostly over, McClendon has 'pen decisions

Position battles mostly over, McClendon has 'pen decisions

PEORIA, Ariz. -- With one week of Cactus League games remaining before heading home to start their regular season in Seattle, the Mariners have 38 players in Major League camp competing for the final 25-man roster spots as of Saturday.

But in reality, there isn't a lot of drama surrounding the final decisions facing manager Lloyd McClendon and general manager Jack Zduriencik.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McClendon makes it official: Felix to start opener

McClendon makes it official: Felix to start opener

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Just in case there were any lingering doubts, Lloyd McClendon made it completely official on Saturday: Felix Hernandez will be the Mariners' Opening Day starter on April 6, when Seattle hosts the Angels at Safeco Field.

That declaration was something less than a surprise, given McClendon said early in camp that Hernandez was "99.999 percent" likely to be the man.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Zunino's pops pace Mariners' offense against Giants

Catcher goes yard twice; Iwakuma gives up four runs in five innings

Zunino's pops pace Mariners' offense against Giants

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Right fielder Justin Maxwell -- who hit a three-run homer in the fourth -- keyed the Giants' five-run rally in the ninth to edge the Mariners, 9-8, in Cactus League action at Peoria Stadium on Saturday.

Mariners catcher Mike Zunino cracked a pair of solo home runs, and third baseman Kyle Seager added another on a mid-90-degree day where the ball was flying.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Mariners looking like the team to beat in the AL

Strong pitching, depth could help punch Seattle's first ticket to the Fall Classic

Mariners looking like the team to beat in the AL

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Word of advice to serious sports fans: Book your October hotel rooms in Seattle early. Space can get tight out there, and you don't want to get caught off guard.

In one wonderful stretch last fall, the Chiefs hosted the Patriots in a Monday Night Football game as the Royals were preparing to face the A's in the American League Wild Card Game across the parking lot at Kansas City's Truman Sports Complex. The place basically looked like Woodstock for about 36 hours, minus sitar music and rivers of mud.

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Phil Rogers joined MLB.com in 2013, and has covered Major League Baseball since 1984.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Paxton healthy, building for regular season

Paxton healthy, building for regular season

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- James Paxton has been a little behind this spring after getting a delayed start due to a bruised left forearm, but the Mariners left-hander said he should be just fine for the regular season despite a bit of a rocky go in Friday's 5-1 loss to the Royals.

Paxton lasted just 3 2/3 innings on a night he struggled with his command, giving up five runs (two earned) on four hits, three walks and a wild pitch. But the positive side is he feels 100 percent healthy now and went to the bullpen at Surprise Stadium afterward to build his final pitch count to 80 after throwing 68 in the game.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Paxton, Mariners miss mark against Royals

Paxton, Mariners miss mark against Royals

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals Opening Day starter Yordano Ventura appeared sharp and ready for the season to begin, throwing seven no-hit innings in a 5-1 win over the Mariners on Friday night at Surprise Stadium.

Ventura walked two and struck out four before exiting in favor of Jason Frasor, who gave up the first hit to the Mariners, a one-out RBI single by Tyler Smith in the eighth.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McClendon holding off naming No. 5 starter

Walker appears to have edge on Elias for spot in Mariners' rotation

McClendon holding off naming No. 5 starter

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Taijuan Walker is scheduled to start again on Monday against the Angels at Peoria Stadium, while Roenis Elias likely is slated for a Minor League outing in his next appearance. But manager Lloyd McClendon still wasn't ready to pronounce Walker as his fifth starter on Friday.

The 22-year-old Walker had yet to allow a run in 18 innings in five Cactus League starts before facing the Royals, while Elias has a 6.75 ERA in 14 2/3 innings after getting hit hard by the Brewers on Thursday. But McClendon has maintained he won't proclaim who has won the battle for the final berth in Seattle's rotation until the final week of camp.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

MLB Pipeline checks in from Mariners camp

Power percolating throughout Seattle's system; top prospect Jackson talks adjustments

MLB Pipeline checks in from Mariners camp

Every Spring Training, prospects get a chance to show what they can do as they prepare for the season ahead. Some are competing for jobs in big league camp, others are prepping for the season as they vie for spots at Minor League affiliates up and down a team's system. MLBPipeline.com will be visiting all 30 camps this spring. Today, we check in on the Seattle Mariners.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- In the past decade, the Mariners have had just two homegrown right-handed hitters who managed to hit 20 homers in a season. Jose Lopez, signed out of Venezuela in 2000, accomplished the feat in 2009. Mike Zunino, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 Draft, did so last year.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hernandez's strong start 'very pleasing' to Mariners

Seattle ace rebounds from rough Cactus League outing

Hernandez's strong start 'very pleasing' to Mariners

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Mariners lost to the Royals, 3-0, on Thursday at Peoria Stadium. But really only one thing mattered in this one. Felix Hernandez looked King-ly and thus all was well.

"I feel like I'm where I want to be," Hernandez said after firing six innings of two-hit, one-run ball. "I'll be ready for Opening Day."

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rule 5 pick Rollins suspended 80 games for PEDs

Rule 5 pick Rollins suspended 80 games for PEDs

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Left-hander David Rollins, a Rule 5 Draft pick who was in the hunt for one of the final roster spots with the Mariners, was suspended 80 games on Friday for testing positive for Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing substance, in violation of Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Rollins will remain the Mariners' property during his suspension, though general manager Jack Zduriencik said the club is awaiting guidance from MLB due to his Rule 5 status.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.