LeBlanc was released by the Yankees on Friday. This will be his second stint with the Mariners.
PEORIA, Ariz. — With spring training in its final days and the 2018 season looming, teams are paring down rosters and players are suddenly becoming available on the open market.
The Mariners have used that situation to bring back veteran left-handed pitcher Wade LeBlanc to add to their opening day roster.
A baseball source confirmed an earlier report from ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick that the organization is signing LeBlanc to a Major League contract and he will make the opening day roster.
The Mariners plan to capitalize on LeBlanc’s versatility and experience. They will use him as a long reliever, but could spot start him if needed.
Seattle first acquired LeBlanc in midway through the 2016 season from the Blue Jays when injuries leveled their starting rotation. He helped the Mariners survive the injuries, posting a 3-0 record with a 4.50 ERA in eight starts and three relief appearances.
It was a fast moving process considering LeBlanc was released on Friday morning. He had signed a minor league deal with the Yankees with an invite to spring training. LeBlanc appeared in seven Grapefruit League games this spring, posting a 5.27 in 13 2/3 innings pitched.
He spent last season in the Pirates bullpen, making 50 appearances and posting a 5-2 record with a 4.50 ERA. He isn’t a lefty specialist. Because of his diving changeup to the left-side of the plate, he’s actually been more effective vs. right-handed hitters in his career.
With LeBlanc slated for the bullpen, it could mean that either Casey Lawrence or right-hander Chasen Bradford will likely not make the team. Seattle had planned to carry eight relievers and four starting pitchers to start the season
LeBlanc would join lefties Marc Rzepczynski and James Pazos and right-handers Edwin Diaz, Juan Nicasio, Nick Vincent, Dan Altavilla along with the final reliever that has yet to be finalized.