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Kinney among Mariners non-roster invites

Kinney among Mariners non-roster invites

Kinney among Mariners non-roster invites
SEATTLE -- Veteran right-handed reliever Josh Kinney, who pitched 13 games for the White Sox last season, has signed a Minor League deal with the Mariners that includes a non-roster invitation to Major League camp this spring.

Kinney is the only new name on a list of 11 such players officially released for the first time Tuesday by the Mariners, with the other names having come out previously from other sources.

Like all clubs, the Mariners typically sign about 20 players to Minor League deals with a big league camp invitation. A year ago, four players in that situation -- Jamey Wright, Adam Kennedy, Chris Ray and Ryan Langerhans -- wound up making Seattle's Opening Day roster. Two others -- catchers Chris Gimenez and Josh Bard -- were added to the club in midseason.

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Also on the newly released list is left-handed pitcher Phillippe Valiquette, who signed late last season but has never pitched for the Mariners as he missed all of 2011 with a back injury. Valiquette is a hard-throwing native of Montreal who was released off the Reds' 40-man roster and picked up by Seattle on Aug. 23.

Also on the list are right-handed pitchers Matt Fox, Jarrett Grube, Jeff Marquez and Scott Patterson, left-handers Steve Garrison and Sean Henn, catcher Guillermo Quiroz, infielder Luis Rodriguez and outfielder Darren Ford.

The latest addition, Kinney, went 6-3 with 14 saves and a 2.77 ERA in 49 appearances for Triple-A Charlotte last year, as well as 0-0 with a 6.62 ERA in 13 games with the White Sox. The 32-year-old pitched in 45 games in relief for the Cardinals from 2006-09, including seven postseason appearances during '06 when St. Louis won the World Series.

While the Mariners continue pursuing available free agents and trade opportunities, the non-roster invitees also serve a valuable purpose in adding depth without taking up spots right now on the 40-man roster.

"Players and agents would like their player to have a roster invite and 40-man roster spot, but as they begin to have these discussions and aren't getting what they want, it comes down to reality," Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said. "With this many free agents on the market, it will happen again this year. Some guys look at opportunity.

"I think like in Adam Kennedy and Jamey Wright's case, they had a couple other opportunities and liked this one [last year]. And that's what is going on now. Guys can get a non-roster invite and still make the club. We'll be fair. That's been our stance all along: Let the best guys in camp make the club. If there's not a roster spot, then we'll create a spot for them."

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.

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