PEORIA, Ariz. — Add veteran right-hander Kevin Correia to the Mariners’ pitching depth.
Correia, 34, agreed to a minor-league deal Monday that includes an invitation to big-league camp. He is a 12-year veteran who has a 75-95 record with a 4.59 ERA while logging time with five clubs.
“It was getting to the point where it was time to go, either way,” he said. “The offseason didn’t work out the way I was hoping it would have, but I’m happy where I landed.”
Barring injuries to other pitchers, Correia appears likely to open the season at Triple-A Tacoma. He was working out near his home in San Diego prior to signing with the Mariners.
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“I’m not here to try to make the bullpen,” Correia said. “I’m here to try to make the rotation and that’s my main focus.”
Correia was a combined 7-17 with a 5.44 ERA while splitting time last season with Minnesota and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He also previously pitched for San Francisco, San Diego and Pittsburgh.
LATIN OPERATIONS CONSOLIDATED
The Mariners announced plans to consolidate their Latin American operations at their new academy near Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
General manager Jack Zduriencik said the club would “continue to be heavily invested in our scouting efforts throughout Latin America, and particularly in Venezuela, where we have…experienced much success.”
While the move takes advantage of the organization’s new Dominican facility, which can house up to 80 players, it also represents a response to Venezuela’s deteriorating social conditions.
The decision also means the Mariners will no longer field a club in the Venezuelan Summer League. The organization will instead field two clubs in the Dominican Summer League.
“Our plan all along has been to centralize our efforts,” Zduriencik said. “By bringing our operation under one umbrella, we will be much more efficient and effective in the development of young players.”
Second baseman Robinson Cano is expected to return Friday from the Dominican Republic, where he is attending funeral services for his grandfather.
Cano left camp following last Saturday’s game.
Manager Lloyd McClendon said Cano will likely return to the lineup for Saturday’s game against Arizona at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale.
Reliever Tom Wilhelmsen is scheduled to make his spring debut by pitching one inning Wednesday against Colorado at Peoria Stadium.
Wilhelmsen has been slowed this spring due to back soreness.
***Felix Hernandez is scheduled for two innings Tuesday when he makes his spring debut against the Rockies at Salt River Fields. Plans call for Roenis Elias to follow Hernandez and work three innings.
***Erasmo Ramirez will start Wednesday’s game. Danny Hultzen is also slotted to pitch that day against the Rockies along with Wilhelmsen. It will be Hultzen’s first game action since Sept. 1, 2013.
***Tentative starters for the rest of the week: Jordan Pries on Thursday against Oakland in Mesa; J.A. Happ on Friday against Milwaukee in Peoria; and Taijuan Walker on Saturday against Arizona at Salt River Fields.
Outfielder Franklin Gutierrez is taking swings in workouts but remains slowed by a tightness in his right groin. The ailment forced him to exit Saturday’s game against the White Sox in Glendale…