Tuiasosopo making his own name

Tuiasosopo making his own name

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Matt Tuiasosopo comes from a Seattle-area football family. His father, Manu, was a Seahawks star, and his brother, Marques, was a legendary University of Washington quarterback who made it to the NFL.

Matt, 19, decided to play baseball and it served him well when the Mariners selected him as a shortstop in the third round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft. With Yuniesky Betancourt penciled in as the Mariners' starting shortstop for years to come, other prospects have been moved from short, but Tuiasosopo will stay there for now.

That seemed questionable Saturday when Tuiasosopo played the Mariners' "B" game against the Padres at third base, but manager Mike Hargrove insisted it didn't signal anything close to a permanent change.

Still, Tuiasosopo will continue to work out at third here and there and might play some games there this upcoming Minor League season.

On the move: Adam Jones has been playing a lot and doing a lot on the field. The Mariners' first-round pick from 2003, who has been converted from shortstop to center field, played in both "B" games Friday and Saturday and both regular afternoon games. Jones had the only hit against the Padres in the six-inning "B" matchup Saturday afternoon, a single against Woody Williams. He is likely to start the season in Double-A.

On the pine: Catcher Rob Johnson (lower back spasms) worked out Saturday and could be in a game soon. Left-hander Cesar Jimenez has a mild strain of the left hamstring but played long toss Saturday. Outfielder Wladimir Balentien has a strained right hamstring but will continue to participate in workouts, although he's currently not available for games.

Names in the game: Minor League pitching coordinator Pat Rice, in his seventh year in his position with the Mariners, pitched in the Mariners organization from 1986 to 1992. Rice made his Major League debut May 18, 1991, in Yankee Stadium and was a 4-1 winner. He did not allow a run over his first 13 innings, establishing a club record for scoreless innings to start a career.

They're No. 1: Five of the Mariners' No. 1 draft picks are in camp. Last year's No. 1 selection, catcher Jeff Clement, will likely start the season at Class A or Double-A. Tuiasosopo finished last season at low Class A Wisconsin and has a shot at Double-A this year. Jones, the team's 2003 pick out of high school, will start in center at either Double-A or Triple-A. Reliever Matt Thornton (1998) is a likely addition to the Major League bullpen and Gil Meche (1996) is in the Mariners' starting rotation.

Class of '05: Last year's first-round pick, Clement, is the only 2005 draft alumnus in Mariners' big-league camp. Their second selection (fourth round), left-hander Justin Thomas, will join Minor League camp when it opens.

What they're saying: "It doesn't mean there are plans for him to move to third base. There was no motive other than I needed a third baseman." -- Hargrove on Tuiasosopo

Doug Miller is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.