With starters going longer in Cactus League games, the pitchers need to get their regular work in minor league games
PEORIA, Ariz. — The Mariners trimmed their spring training roster by re-assigning five players — four pitchers and a catcher — to minor league camp on Sunday morning.
Following the Mariners’ 3-2 loss to the Rangers in Surprise, the team announced that No. 2 prospect Tyler O’Neill was assigned to minor league camp after going 1-for-4 in the game.
O’Neill played in just 13 Cactus League game, after missing a week playing with Canada in the World Baseball Classic. He hit. 310 (9-for-29) with four doubles, a homer and eight RBI. That one homer came on Saturday against Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw.
Since none of the players are on the 40-man roster, they don’t have to be optioned to a specific team. With innings in Cactus League games becoming sparse, Povse, Moore and Bergman — all projected starters — needed minor league games to build their pitch counts. Baron’s playing time was dwindling with catchers also going longer into games.
Povse had a brilliant run in the Cactus League for the Mariners. He made four appearances, pitching 10 innings and not allowing a single run. Povse yielded just three hits — all in his last outing — with no walks and seven strikeouts.
“He’s been really good,” manager Scott Servais. “I’m excited for him personally. I don’t know him that well. Getting to know guys and their background, he’s from North Carolina and he’s kind of laid back, but you are starting to see that every inning he walks off the mound, he’s standing a little bit taller, his chest is out a little bit farther.”
Moore also impressed the Mariners in his time in big league camp. He made four appearances, giving up five runs in 10 innings pitched. He struck out eight batters and walked two. The Mariners like his aggressiveness in the strikezone and his fearlessness when it comes to throwing inside and pitching to some contact.
Both Moore and Povse seem headed for Class AA Arkansas to start the minor league season, but that could changed based on decisions made on the big league roster and the trickle down effects. The current Mariners regime isn’t known to rush prospects up levels of play.
Bergman was a minor league signing in the offseason. He’s projected for Class AAA Tacoma’s rotation, but is capable of handling long relief duties. He will serve as organizational depth with big league experience. He appeared in five games this spring, giving up eight runs and 14 hits in six innings pitched.
Weber was a waivers claim from the Braves in the offseason. He struggled this spring giving up 12 earned runs on 18 hits in six innings pitched.
Baron appeared in eight games and had three hits in 11 at-bats with a double.
With the moves, the Mariners now have 46 players remaining in big league game — 35 players on the 40-man roster and 11 non-roster invitees.