Byrnes released in Mariners bench shakeup

Byrnes released in Mariners bench shakeup

SEATTLE -- A Mariners offense that has been among the least productive in the Major Leagues this season resulted in a reconstructed bench on Sunday.

The Mariners announced that veteran outfielder Eric Byrnes had been released and utility player Matt Tuiasosopo optioned to Triple-A Tacoma. In corresponding moves, infielder Josh Wilson and outfielder Ryan Langerhans were promoted from Tacoma.

"We've added two veteran players that can play multiple positions and have big league experience," general manager Jack Zduriencik said. "We look forward to their contributions. Eric Brynes is a tremendous competitor and a credit to baseball. We wish him only the best and expect him to land on his feet."

Byrnes, signed as a free agent on Jan. 29 after being released by the D-backs -- who are paying all but the Major League minimum on his contract -- went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against the Rangers in the Mariners' 3-1, 11-inning loss at Safeco Field on Sunday.

But his status on the team might have been determined during his final at-bat against the Rangers on Friday night, when he botched a suicide squeeze bunt in the 11th inning, possibly costing the Mariners a victory in their 2-0 loss in 12 innings.

The Mariners blew bases-loaded chances in both the 10th and 11th innings, but the squeeze play was the easiest chance for the win. Manager Don Wakamatsu said the next day that Byrnes didn't think he could get a bat on the low-and-outside pitch, so he pulled it back.

Byrnes admitted on Saturday that he should have made an attempt, anyway, and the mistake clearly upset him. He rode his bicycle out of the clubhouse after Friday's loss before the media was allowed to enter.

"He knew that getting that [bunt] down wins us a ballgame, and he didn't do it," Wakamatsu said.

Byrnes also played for the Athletics (2000-04), Rockies ('05), Orioles ('05) and the D-backs (2006-09) before signing with Seattle. He entered the 2010 season with a .260 career average, 109 home runs and 396 RBIs.

In 15 games with the Mariners this season, he was hitting .094 (3-for-32) with two doubles.

Wilson, 29, was leading the Rainiers in hitting with a .333 (27-for-81) average with 11 doubles, one triple and 11 RBIs in 20 games. His 11 doubles lead the Pacific Coast League. Wilson was 2-for-5 in Sunday's game against Reno.

He re-signed with Seattle as a Minor League free agent last Dec. 9. He's played in nine different professional organizations in his career, including with Seattle last season. Wilson has played a total of 188 Major League games, appearing in the Majors with Florida (2005), Washington ('07), Tampa Bay ('07), Arizona ('09), San Diego ('09) and Seattle ('09).

The 30-year-old Langerhans appeared in one game with Seattle this season, flying out as a pinch-hitter on April 7, prior to being designated for assignment on April 8. Since joining the Rainiers, he was hitting .282 (11-for-39) with a .391 on-base percentage. He's played in 12 games with the Rainiers this season, and is hitting .333 (11-for-33) in his last 10 games. He was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI in Sunday's game against Reno.

He appeared in 38 games for the Mariners in 2009, batting .235 (22-for-101) with six doubles, three home runs and 10 RBIs. He hit a pair of walk-off home runs during the '09 campaign, Aug. 7 against Tampa Bay and Aug. 25 against Oakland.

Langerhans was acquired from the Nationals on June 28, 2009, in exchange for Mike Morse. He has appeared in parts of seven Major League seasons, combining to bat .232 with 27 home runs in 512 games with Atlanta (2002-07), Oakland ('07), Washington (2007-08) and Seattle ('09).

Tuiasosopo, who turns 24 on May 10, made the Mariners' Opening Day roster for the second straight season, but has appeared in just 11 games and only has 22 at-bats this season. He is batting .182 (4-for-22).

The Mariners' third-round selection in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, he has played 32 games in the Majors the past three seasons. In 59 games with the Rainiers last season, he hit .261 with 15 doubles and 11 home runs.

"Matt Tuiasosopo is a 23-year-old kid that has a very nice future ahead of him," Zduriencik said. "He earned the right to be on this club at the beginning of the year, but playing time and at-bats are important to his development. He's better off playing on an everyday basis at the Triple-A level than being a bench player on the big league club at this time."

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