[caption id="attachment_13881" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Bryan LaHair, a non-roster Cub"][/caption]
The Seattle Mariners have plenty of non-roster invitees this spring, from veteran catcherJosh Bard
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to pitchers like
. Will any of them make the team? They're all longshots, more likely to earn minor league jobs, which would make them insurance policies for the opening day 25-man roster.
A year ago, for instance, Mike Sweeney started the year with Seattle after going to camp as a non-roster invitee. What the team saw last spring, however, led them to calling up Chad Cordero, David Pauley, Chris Seddon, Eliezer Alfonzo, Josh Bard, Guilermo Quiroz, Josh Wilson and Chris Woodward.
None were impact players, but each filled a need the team had at the time - and all made their impressions as non-roster invitees.
So this spring, the Mariners and 29 other big-league teams will invite hundreds of players to spring training with an eye toward role players, with the quiet hope that somewhere in the grab bag of names, there's talent that another team missed.
It's baseball's great recycling effort, and there are plenty of ex-Mariners on the list of non-roster players for other teams this year.
The Kansas City Royals, who seem to like all things ex-Mariner, have pitchers Steven Shell and Gaby Hernandez in camp. The Reds have Corky Miller, a 34-year-old reserve catcher who never caught on in Seattle but has played 199 big-league games - over 10 seasons with five teams. The Houston Astros will take a long look at infielder Oswaldo Navarro and the Colorado Rockies have brought reliever Sean White into camp.
The Twins invited catcher Rene Rivera and pitcher Yorman Bazardo to camp. Rivera hasn't played in the majors since 2006 with the Mariners, but every team wants depth at his position. He'll be employed as long as he's willing to audition and go to the minor leagues with a new organization.
Lefty Randy Williams is in camp with Boston, and former top draft pick Jeff Clement is now a non-roster invitee with Pittsburgh hoping to restart a stalled career. Mr. Quiroz, who wound up catching in the Mariners merry-g0-round behind the plate last year, is in San Diego.
Long-time Tacoma Rainier Bryan LaHair will go to camp with the Cubs, Jack Hannahan is with Cleveland, Ryan Feierabend with the Phillies and Travis Blackley, the eternal left-handed pitcher, will be with Oakland this spring. Outdfielder Endy Chavez, hurt two years ago with Seattle, will try out for the Texas Rangers. Corey Patterson, who came to camp with Seattle last spring - then asked out of his non-roster contract - is now in Toronto.
Yes, as a non-roster invitee.
And then there are the 2011 Seattle Mariners non-roster players. Pitchers Denny Bautista, Fabio Castro, Charlie Haeger, Justin Miller, Yusmeiro Petit, Royce Ring, Chris Seddon and Chris Smith; catchers Josh Bard and Chris Gimenez; infielders Sean Kazmar, Adam Kennedy and Luis Rodríguez and outfielders Ryan Langerhans and Mike Wilson.
Exciting names? Probably not, but one or two might make the team out of spring training - and a half dozen or so might be needed during the season.
And consider this. They have as much right to be inviteed as, say, Detroit Tigers non-roster catcher Patrick Leyland, who's 19-years-old - and the son of the manager.