The 35-year-old Chavez, who opened the 2009 season in left field for the Mariners, signed a minor-league contract with Seattle after he was released Friday by Kansas City.
PEORIA, Ariz. — Endy Chavez had no illusions about where his second go-round in the Mariners organization was going to begin.
The Mariners signed the 35-year-old outfielder to a minor-league contract on Sunday after he was released Friday by the Kansas City Royals. Chavez promptly delivered a ninth-inning double off the top of the wall in right-center field in the loss to Arizona.
But no matter how well he does the final week of camp, he knows he’s opening the season in the minors.
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“I’m not expecting anything crazy,” said Chavez, who opened the 2009 season in left field for the Mariners before suffering a season-ending knee injury in a collision with shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt two months later. “I know I’ll still start in AAA, but that’s good for me. I’m getting the opportunity to play baseball and I’ll have a good chance to be back in the majors.”
The signing gives the Mariners added center-field depth in the event they part ways with outfielder Casper Wells this week. Wells appears to have been beaten out for a fifth outfield spot by Jason Bay, but is out of minor-league options and could be lost to a waiver claim if the team attempts to outright him to AAA.
There is still a chance the Mariners could try to trade Wells before being forced to make a roster move involving him.
Wells plays all three outfield spots. With lingering questions about the health of starting center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, the Mariners’ only other capable major-league center fielder is Michael Saunders.
But with Chavez providing insurance, the Mariners could move Wells to free a spot for Bay.
“You always have to have depth,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “You always have to have insurance, be prepared in case something happens. We’re trying to take an optimistic viewpoint with it, with Guti. For him to be healthy. But we also want to make sure we are prepared.”
• Jesus Montero caught some bullpen sessions Sunday morning, fewer than 24 hours after he was hit in the head by the backswing of Cleveland hitter Francisco Lindor in a game Saturday. The egg-size welt on Montero’s forehead was gone Sunday after several hours of treatment with ice packs.
“I feel good,” Montero said. “Thank God nothing happened. It was a scary moment yesterday.”
Montero was examined for a possible concussion, but tests were negative. Team officials say he’ll play again shortly and start the season on time.
• Joe Saunders gave up eight earned runs on seven hits while walking four batters in the Mariners’ loss to Arizona. Saunders has an earned-run average of 11.57 this spring but insists he isn’t worried about stats and merely wants to start the season after an extended spring that’s starting to wear on him.
“Honestly, you never want to give up hits or runs and stuff like that,” Saunders said. “But I don’t really focus on results. I focus solely on how my body feels, how my arm bounces back, and I’m happy with where I’m at right now, that’s for sure.”
|F.Gutierrez cf||3||1||1||1||G.Parra rf||4||2||2||0|
|B.Miller 2b||0||0||0||0||T.Bortnick 2b||0||0||0||0|
|Andino 3b||4||1||1||0||Pollock cf||3||1||1||0|
|K.Morales 1b||4||1||1||3||R.Lapensee rf||0||0||0||0|
|Luetge p||0||0||0||0||Prado 3b||2||1||0||0|
|Morse rf||4||0||0||0||E.Marzilli ph-cf||1||0||1||0|
|Bay lf||4||0||0||0||A.Hill 2b||1||2||1||2|
|Shoppach c||3||0||0||0||T.Gosewisch ph-c||1||0||1||0|
|Loe p||0||0||0||0||Goldschmidt 1b||2||2||2||4|
|En.Chavez cf||1||0||1||0||Hinske 1b||1||0||0||0|
|Ackley 2b-1b||4||0||2||0||M.Montero c||3||0||0||0|
|Ryan ss||3||0||0||0||Teahen ph-3b||1||0||0||0|
|J.Saunders p||2||1||1||0||Kubel lf||3||0||0||0|
|J.Sucre c||1||0||0||0||A.Marte lf||1||0||0||0|
|Seattle||103 000 000||—||4|
|Arizona||105 020 00x||—||8|
E — Andino (3). DP — Seattle 1, Arizona 1. LOB — Seattle 3, Arizona 4. 2B — En.Chavez (1), Ackley (1), Pennington (2). HR — F.Gutierrez (4), K.Morales (6), Goldschmidt (2). SB — E.Marzilli (2), A.Hill (2), Goldschmidt (3). SF — A.Hill.
|J.Saunders L, 1-1||5||7||8||8||4||2|
|Miley W, 1-1||3 1/3||6||4||4||1||3|
T — 2:34. A — 12,864.