The veteran lefty was released he could pursue an opportunity to play in Japan.

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Andrew Albers likely didn’t have a spot on the Mariners’ opening day roster. But instead of toiling away at Class AAA Tacoma and hoping for a call-up, the veteran lefty has decided to pursue the financial security of playing in Japan.

On Monday, the Mariners released Albers from his contract. Albers tweeted out that he’s agreed to a contract with the Orix Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball. The Mariners now have two open spots on their 40-man roster.

Albers, 32, was acquired from the Braves for cash considerations in late August with the Mariners’ pitching staff in disarray due to injuries and bullpen overuse. He stepped in and proved to be highly valuable, posting a 5-1 with a 3.51 ERA in six starts and three relief appearances. Prior to joining the Mariners, he was 12-3 with a 2.61 ERA with 115 strikeouts and 19 walks in 17 starts and nine relief appearances for Class AAA Gwinnett.

A native North Battleford, Saskatchewan in Canada, he was college teammates with James Paxton at the University of Kentucky. He was selected in the 10th round of the 2008 draft by the Padres. Over parts of four seasons with the Twins, Blue Jays and Mariners, he posted a 7-6 record with a 4.10 ERA in 18 starts and eight relief appearances.

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