PEORIA, Ariz. – There will be two more players joining the already large group of pitchers and catchers taking physicals at the Mariners’ spring-training complex on Wednesday in preparation for Thursday’s first scheduled workout.
Baseball sources confirmed that left-handed pitchers Randy Wolf and Zach Miner have both agreed to minor-league contracts with nonroster invitations to participate in major league spring training.
Wolf, 36, did not pitch last season while recovering from surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament (Tommy John surgery) in his pitching elbow. In 2012, he made 24 starts with the Milwaukee Brewers, going 3-10 with a 5.69 ERA. He was released in August and picked up by the Orioles. He made two starts and three bullpen appearances for Baltimore. He had surgery immediately following the season. It was the second Tommy John surgery for Wolf in his career. He underwent the same procedure in 2005.
Miner, who turns 32 in March, also had his career sidetracked by Tommy John surgery in 2010. He made five starts and 46 relief appearances for the Detroit Tigers in 2009, but missed all of the 2010 season as he recovered. Since then, he has kicked around the minor leagues, playing for affiliates of the Tigers (2011) and Royals (2012). He signed a minor-league contract with the Phillies last season, spending most of his time at Class AAA. He did have two big-league stints, making three starts and 13 relief appearances. He posted an 0-2 record with a 4.40 ERA.
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They join 15 other pitchers as nonroster invites. Making the team could be a longshot for both, but general manager Jack Zduriencik won’t discount anyone’s chances.
“It’s a big camp, but every guy we are bringing in has a legitimate shot to make this ballclub,” Zduriencik said. “We wouldn’t be bringing them in if they couldn’t. I would love to have some of these guys with proven track records come in and be healthy and ready to go and really make our decisions tougher.”
Zduriencik wouldn’t speak directly about Wolf or Miner since their signings aren’t official until they pass a physical. As for other free-agent possibilities — outfielder Nelson Cruz and starting pitcher Ervin Santana — Zduriencik wasn’t saying much, as expected. He did speak in generalities about the possibility of signing one of them.
“There’s still some good players out there,” Zduriencik said. “But every club has restrictions. When you are at this point in the year, it isn’t often easy for a club just to say, ‘Give me $10 more million dollars’ or whatever number someone is asking — $15 or $20 million dollars — or something like that. It just doesn’t always work like that.”
So does that mean the Mariners are done? Or could they make something work for the right player?
“There is probably a window to do something,” Zduriencik said.
Zduriencik still wants to add pieces to the team and continue to tweak it. And it might not be just via free agency. The Mariners are still looking at possibly trading for a starting pitcher.
“Every general manager would like add to something,” Zduriencik said. “But you have to be realistic and understand that there is only so far you can go. We’ll see. Do I think we’ll go any further? Are we going to do other things? We’ll certainly have a lot of conversations.”
• Fernando Rodney will be in Peoria on Wednesday to take his physical. The Mariners might be able to announce his signing on Thursday. The blood work and tests can take up to 24 hours to process.
• Jesus Montero won’t report to Peoria for a physical with pitchers and catchers as in past years. Why? The Mariners no longer view Montero as a catcher, so as a first baseman/designated hitter he will report later.
Ryan Divish: 206-464-2373 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @RyanDivish