In Jack Zdurienck’s annual remake of the Seattle Mariners roster, add right-handed hitting first baseman Ryan Garko to the list of new faces reporting to camp in a few weeks.
For the second time in as many springs, the Mariners general manager will send so many new players to camp that fans - and, perhaps, coaches - will need a program early on.
Signing Garko continues a makeover of the 2009 Mariners roster which had been a major departure from the team Zduriencik inherited from 2008.
Consider the 25-man roster from last opening day:
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Pitchers (12): David Aardsma, Miguel Batista, Erik Bedard, Roy Corcoran, Felix Hernandez, Chris Jakubauskas, Shawn Kelley, Mark Lowe, Brandon Morrow, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Carlos Silva and Jarrod Washburn.
Catchers (2): Kenji Johjima and Rob Johnson
Infielders(7): Adrian Beltre, Yuniesky Betancourt, Russell Branyan, Ronny Cedeno, Jose Lopez, Mike Sweeney and Matt Tuiasosopo.
Outfielders (4): Vladimir Balentien, Endy Chavez, Ken Griffey Jr. and Franklin Gutierrez
Of those 25 players - Ichiro Suzuki opened the year on the disabled list, remember - 15 are no longer with the organization. Among the 10 holdovers, Tuiasosopo is a longshot to make the 2010 opening day roster.
A team that had a plethora of left-handed hitters just a week ago has now added two right-handed bats in four days - Garko and outfielder Eric Byrnes. Neither figures to start fulltime, both give Zduriencik and manager Don Wakamatsu what they covet: options.
Against left-handed pitching, for instance, the team could now start right-handed hitters - including switch-hitters Chone Figgins and Milton Bradley - everywhere but right field if it chose.
Against righties? The Mariners could counter with left-handed hitters at first and third base, left and right field and designated hitter.
Garko fits into that style of play, if only because his career batting average against LHPs (.313) is far higher than against RHPs (.266). Signed for $550,000 - just $150,000 above the big-league minimum - Garko has incentives based on playing time and at-bats.
Garko spent last season with the Indians and Giants, batting.268 with 13 homers and 51 in 118 games, then was not offered a contract by San Francisco this off-season.