BOSTON -- The Mariners lost one of their former first-round draft choices on Wednesday, when the Phillies claimed infielder Michael Garciaparra off waivers. The 23-year-old second baseman had been designated for assignment on April 2. The Mariners had 10 days to release, trade or outright him to the Minor Leagues -- a move that required him to be placed on a 72-hour waiver period. Garciaparra was the player Seattle selected with the compensatory pick they received for losing All-Star shortstop Alex Rodriguez to the Rangers via free agency prior to the 2001 season.
"I'm excited for him because he gets to stay on a 40-man roster," said Greg Hunter, the Mariners' Minor League director. "We're disappointed to lose him, but we needed roster spots for the non-roster players we kept [on the Opening Day 25-man roster]." The Mariners had to open spots for left-handed reliever Arthur Rhodes, right-handed reliever Brandon Morrow and catcher Jamie Burke. Garciaparra was a supplemental draft selection (36th player overall) in 2001 out of Don Bosco Technical High School in California. The younger brother of Dodgers first baseman Nomar Garciaparra was selected to the first-team All-Camino Real League in baseball for three years. When the organization decided that Yunkiesky Betancourt would become the team's future shortstop, Michael Garciaparra was moved to second base. Garciaparra had his best overall season in 2006, batting a combined .311 in 70 games with Triple-A Tacoma and Double-A San Antonio. Bad news for Rhodes: The MRI taken on Rhodes disclosed that he has a torn ulnar collateral ligament. The 37-year-old was examined in Seattle on Tuesday by medical director Dr. E. Edward Khalfayan. Rhodes has two options. He could have the injury surgically repaired via Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery or try to recover with rehab. Either way, it could be difficult for Rhodes to come back from such a serious injury. "It's not good news," manager Mike Hargrove said. "We came out of Spring Training thinking Arthur was healthy. We feel like we have people who can come in and fill in for Arthur, so I don't know how big of a blow it is really. "But anytime you lose somebody who has the ability Arthur has, it makes it tough." Rhodes signed a Minor League contract on Jan. 25 and was invited to camp. Rhodes had a 2.57 ERA in eight spring appearances, but he missed several days with a sore left elbow. But Rhodes seemed fine at the end of camp and was placed on the Opening Day roster. He did not pitch in the three-game series against the Athletics in Seattle and accompanied the team to Cleveland for what was supposed to be a four-game series. It was during a bullpen session on Sunday, following two snowouts, that Rhodes experienced more discomfort in his elbow and returned to Seattle to be examined. Burroughs update: Former Major League infielder Sean Burroughs, who was signed to a Minor League contract and invited to camp, has started to throw and hit, but the organization still has no idea when -- or if -- he'll be ready to play. Burroughs continues to work with a personal therapist in San Diego. The son of former American League Most Valuable Player Jeff Burroughs suffered a shoulder injury while fishing. The incident happened several weeks before Spring Training opened. "When he's ready to play, we'll give him a physical, either in Seattle by our team doctor or send him to Arizona," said Hunter. Burroughs, who led his Long Beach, Calif., team to the Little League World Series title in Williamsport, Pa., in 1992 and '93, was drafted in the first round by the Padres in 1998 and has played in 440 big-league games, compiling a .280 batting average with 11 home runs and 134 RBIs. The Mariners signed the 27-year-old as a Minor League free agent on Dec. 19. Down on the farm: Center fielder Adam Jones continues to be an offensive force for Triple-A Tacoma. He went 3-for-5 in Tuesday night's 11-inning loss to the Fresno Giants and is now batting .391. ... Catcher Rob Johnson also is swinging a hot bat, going 2-for-6. He is batting .348. ... Matt Tuiasosopo extended his hitting streak to six games, going 2-for-4 in Double-A West Tennessee's 3-1 victory over Jacksonville. This 'n that: First baseman Richie Sexson has seven RBIs in 13 plate appearances so far this season, and five of his RBIs have come with two outs. ... The three strikeouts by Ichiro against Josh Beckett on Tuesday were the first time one pitcher struck the Seattle center fielder out on swinging third strikes. Two of Ichiro's three strikeouts against Oakland's Tim Hudson in 2003 came on called third strikes. On deck: The Mariners' three-game series, and a bizarre road trip, against the Red Sox ends Thursday at 1:05 p.m. PT with left-hander Jarrod Washburn seeking his second straight quality start. He settled for a no-decision in his first outing, more than a week ago against the Athletics, surrendering two runs over six innings.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.