The Mariners simply didn’t see enough this spring from first baseman Dan Vogelbach to merit a roster spot and optioned him Thursday to Triple-A Tacoma prior to their game against San Francisco in Scottsdale.
"We thought it best to slide him to the other side and get him going in the minor leagues," manager Scott Servais said. "We’re going to need Dan Vogelbach. At some point this year, I think he will help us.
"But where things are at, and what we’ve seen recently, he’s not quite ready at this point. We think our team is ready to win, and we want to put the best players we can out there who are ready to compete at the major-league level."
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"Danny is going play," Servais confirmed. "He has a proven track record. It’s one of the reasons we acquired him. It wasn’t going to be a straight platoon. Valencia has handled right-handed pitching OK in the past.
"Taylor has done a nice job. He’s very comfortable over there. No doubt. That’s who we’ll go with."
Vogelbach was batting .228 this spring with 13 hits in a club-leading 57 at-bats over 22 games, but club officials previously indicated his defensive improvement would weigh heavily in determining whether he would make the roster.
"I think his defense has gotten much better.," Servais said. "Now is it to the point where we think it’s major-league average? It’s probably a tick below. It’s not there yet…He still has more room to grow. I think he understands that."
The move leaves the Mariners with 43 players in big-league camp, including nine non-roster invites. They must down to 25 before the season starts April 3 in Houston.
The move also makes it more likely that the Mariners will open the season with eight relievers, although club officials said Vogelbach wasn’t demoted in order to add depth to the bullpen.
"We wanted to give every opportunity to Daniel Vogelbach to make the team," Servais said. "I certainly believe we did that. It’s just the timing is not right. There are very few guys who come to the big leagues and stay there for 10 years-plus.
"Sometimes it takes a younger player some up-and-down to settle in and have the right fit… It wasn’t his time. We’ve done this with other players. We did it with (Mike) Zunino. We did it with (James) Paxton."
The Mariners acquired Vogelbach, 24, in a July 20, 2016 trade from the Chicago Cubs with pitcher Paul Blackburn for pitchers Mike Montgomery and Jordan Pries.
Vogelbach played 44 games at Tacoma before going 1-for-12 over eight games while making his big-league debut following a Sept. 12 promotion.
The Mariners then traded Blackburn to Oakland on Nov. 12 to acquire Valencia, who batted .287 last season with 17 homers and 51 RBIs in 130 games.
Valencia, 32, has a .271 average in seven big-league seasons with a .317 on-base percentage and a .430 slugging percentage in 656 games for six different clubs.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners