PEORIA, Ariz. – Building outfield flexibility was a Mariners priority all spring. And as they wrapped up the Arizona portion of spring training on Thursday with a 6-4 win over the Chicago Cubs in Mesa, the Mariners planned to go right to the very end of camp before finalizing their outfielder mix.
The team appeared to unofficially declare that veteran Jason Bay had made the squad by inviting him to join them for Saturday’s final exhibition game against the Colorado Rockies in Salt Lake City.
Casper Wells, the apparent loser in the fight with Bay for a fifth outfield spot, was told to stay behind in minor league camp. But the Mariners would not yet declare him out of their mix entirely. The team says the potential for injury or health issues has them putting off any final roster decision regarding Wells until a Sunday deadline.
One report out of Boston suggested the Red Sox were interested in adding Wells to their roster, fueling speculation about a trade.
“Quite frankly, what we’re trying to do is just give ourselves a little more time,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “When you talk about spring training and particularly, the end of spring training, you want to protect yourself against so many different things and one of them is injury, quite frankly. So, if you don’t have to make a decision early, you try not to do it.”
The team is clearly worried about the ability of center fielder Franklin Gutierrez to stay healthy.
Wedge admitted that Gutierrez still has lingering muscle tightness in his legs and that he’s been “slow playing” him to avoid an injury setback.