Mariners Insider Blog

For Chris Shelton, hitting .460 wasn't enough

The Mariners are making moves this morning, and one of them sent first baseman Chris Shelton to Tacoma.

"I knew coming in as a non-roster guy I'd have to play really well to make the team," Shelton said. "And I thought I'd done that."

He had. Shelton batted .460 with four doubles, three home runs.

"If you'd told me when camp started I'd have those numbers, I'd have taken them in a heart beat," Shelton said, his eyes moist.

Why didn't he make the team?

Mike Sweeney is one reason. Wladimir Balentien, who is out of minor league options, is another.

The Mariners want Sweeney for his veteran bat off the bench and his presence. They don't want to lose Balentien.

So Shelton, 28, heads back to Class AAA. In 573 minor league games, he's batted .314. In 290 big league games, .274.

"I've been one of the last guys in camp the past three years, but this is the toughest," Shelton said. "They said they wanted to do some different things. I guess I wasn't part of it. I'll go down. I'll play well. I hope I'll get the chance to play with this team again."

Yes, baseball can break hearts as easily as that.

Randy Messenger was sent down, too, less a surprise because he'd struggled late after a strong early start.

Stay tuned. More is cominng.