Mariners invite 18 to Spring Training
Top prospects highlight non-roster players who will be in camp
Right-hander Phillippe Aumont, the Mariners' first selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, is among the 18 non-roster players invited to Spring Training this year.Veteran relievers Chris Reitsma and Arthur Rhodes, both coming off injuries, are among the 11 pitchers invited to camp, which begins Feb. 13, when pitchers and catchers report to the Peoria Sports Complex. Seven of the invited players, including pitchers Philip Barzilla, Roy Corcoran, Jake Woods, Reitsma and Rhodes, have prior Major League experience. Infielder Mark Kiger and outfielder Bronson Sardinha have limited big league experience. Aumont, the 11th overall pick in June, has yet to make his professional debut. He pitched for the Mariners during the Instructional League in Peoria and then played for his native Canada during the 2007 World Cup, being named the Canadian Junior National Team MVP. Here are summaries for each of the other invitees: LHP Barzilla: Signed with the Mariners as a Minor League free agent on Jan. 2, Barzilla had previously spent his entire career in the Astros organization, making one Major League appearance in 2006. He played at Triple-A Round Rock in 2007, going 9-7 with a 4.59 ERA in 31 games (18 starts) while posting a 2-1 record and 0.95 ERA and one save in 13 relief appearances. Barzilla pitched for Italy in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006. RHP Corcoran: Signed with the Mariners as a Minor League free agent on Nov. 21, Corcoran pitched for Triple-A Albuquerque last season, going 4-4 with a 3.54 ERA in 53 relief appearances. He ranked fourth in the Pacific Coast League with 15 saves and has pitched in the Majors in parts of three seasons with Montreal/Washington (2003, '04, '06), compiling a 26-23 record with 78 saves. RHP Brodie Downs: The 28-year-old was drafted in the 23rd round of June's First-Year Player Draft and made a rapid rise through the Mariners' farm system, making stops at Peoria (R), West Tennessee (AA) and Tacoma (AAA). He combined to go 3-1 with a 2.49 ERA and pitched for the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League (1-1, 5.94 ERA). C Jair Fernandez: The 21-year-old catcher from Cartagena, Colombia, spent last season at Class A Wisconsin in the Midwest League, batting .260 with 11 doubles, two home runs and 13 RBIs. INF Tug Hulett: Acquired from Texas on Dec. 12 in the Ben Broussard trade, Hulett played last season at Triple-A Oklahoma, batting .275 with two triples, 11 home runs, 67 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. In four Minor League seasons, he has combined to bat .280 with 127 extra-base hits and 83 stolen bases. Originally selected by Texas in the 14th round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft out of Auburn University, he is the son of Tim Hulett, a former Major League infielder. RHP Stephen Kahn: He did not appear during the regular season in 2007 while recovering from ACL surgery on his left knee. Kahn pitched for Lara in the Venezuelan Winter League, going 1-2, with a 5.23 in 10 relief appearances this offseason. Kahn has compiled a 6-3 record with a 4.29 ERA and 20 saves in 69 career Minor League appearances. INF Kiger: The utility infielder, who has spent time in the Athletics and Mets organizations, signed with Seattle as a Minor League free agent on Nov. 23. Kiger accomplished one of the rare feats in baseball history, making his Major League debut in the 2006 ALCS, and according to the Elias Sports Bureau, became the first player to make his MLB debut in the postseason. Kiger split last season between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A New Orleans in the Mets organization, being named an Eastern League All-Star. He batted .312 with 27 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs and 50 RBIs. RHP Kameron Mickolio: Spent his second professional season split between Double-A West Tennessee and Triple-A Tacoma in 2007, going a combined 6-4 with a 2.68 ERA and three saves. Mickolio, from Wolf Point, Mont., was selected by Seattle in the 18th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. C Adam Moore: Named a California League All-Star in 2007 at Class A High Desert, Moore batted .307 with 30 doubles, 22 home runs and 102 RBIs. He ranked third in the California League in RBIs and fifth in slugging percentage (.543). Among Mariners Minor Leaguers, Moore ranked second in RBIs, third in batting average and fifth in home runs. RHP Reitsma: The veteran reliever signed with Seattle as a free agent prior to the 2007 season, but he struggled with right elbow inflammation, which led to season-ending surgery. Reitsma went 0-2, with a 7.61 in 26 relief appearances in '07. Reitsma re-signed as a free agent on Nov. 6 after the Mariners did not pick up the option year of his contract. LHP Rhodes: After earning a spot on the Opening Day roster last year coming out of Spring Training, he missed the entire season because of elbow surgery. Rhodes, who underwent Tommy John ligament-replacement surgery on May 2, ranks sixth on the Mariners' all-time list in appearances with 276. LHP Robert Rohrbaugh: Selected as the Mariners Triple-A Pitcher of the Year, Rohrbaugh split the 2007 season between Triple-A Tacoma and Double-A West Tennessee. He led the Mariners Minor League system with 13 wins and ranked fifth in the organization with 111 strikeouts. Rohrbaugh went 6-3 with a 2.95 ERA in 13 starts at Tacoma last year and tossed back-to-back shutouts -- July 28 (at Oklahoma) and Aug. 2 (vs. Memphis). OF Sardinha: The former first-round Draft pick signed with the Mariners as a Minor League free agent on Jan. 15. Sardinha made his Major League debut with the Yankees in 2007. He batted .333 with six runs scored and two RBIs in 10 games as a September callup. Sardinha originally was selected by the Yankees in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft and is the 34th native Hawaiian to play in the Major Leagues. RHP Chris Tillman: Selected as the Mariners Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2007, Tillman split the season between Class A Wisconsin and Class A High Desert, going 7-11 with 4.84 ERA in 28 starts. He led all Mariners Minor Leaguers with 139 strikeouts over 135 2/3 innings and was named the No. 3 prospect in the California League by Baseball America. He was selected by Seattle in the second round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. INF Matt Tuiasosopo: He spent the entire season 2007 at Double-A West Tennessee, earning Southern League All-Star honors. Tuiasopop batted .260 with 74 runs, 27 doubles, five triples, nine home runs and 57 RBIs in 129 games. The Mariners' first selection in the 2004 Draft was also a non-roster invite to Major League Spring Training in 2005, '06 and '07. He ended the '07 season by playing for the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League, batting .293 in 23 games. C Brant Ust: A utility player who spent his first season in the Mariners organization at Triple-A Tacoma in 2007, where he batted .245 in 49 games at five positions (C, 1B, 2B, 3B, DH), Ust spent time in the Detroit (1999-2004), Boston (2005) and Pittsburgh (2006) organizations before joining Seattle prior to last season. LHP Woods: Woods spent most of last season at Triple-A Tacoma and made four relief appearances for the Mariners, allowing seven earned runs over 10 2/3 frames. He went 5-7 with a 6.91 ERA in 25 appearances, including 18 starts, with the Rainiers. Woods was with the Mariners the entire 2006 season, going 7-4 with a 4.20 ERA in 37 appearances.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.