PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Mariners are intrigued by the right-handed bat of Stefen Romero, but finding playing time for the young outfielder could be problematic if he makes the 25-man roster. So manager Lloyd McClendon said Romero will begin doing some infield work this week to increase his versatility.
Romero, 25, played the outfield last year for Triple-A Tacoma and hit .277 with 11 homers and 74 RBIs while playing just 93 games after missing the start of the season with a strained oblique. He's in the mix for an outfield job this spring, but is fighting the numbers game with Dustin Ackley, Michael Saunders, Abraham Almonte and Corey Hart expected to garner roster spots.
So, if Romero makes the club as a fifth outfielder, his value would increase if he could fill in at designated hitter or in the infield as well. He came up as a second baseman out of Oregon State and has played some third base as well. The Mariners have Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager in those spots, but depth can help and Romero will start taking ground balls in the infield later this week.
"He's a converted infielder," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "Our plan was [Saturday] to start getting him some infield work, but he took sick with a stomach virus and he's been out the last two days. Hopefully this next week we start getting him some groundballs and see where he is."
Romero started the spring on an 0-for-16 stretch, but has since gone 9-for-19 with two homers, two triples and two doubles to raise his Cactus League average to .257 with a .600 slugging percentage.
"As we sit now and try to make up this club and see what fits and who complements who, we need guys that are versatile and are able to do more than one thing on the field," McClendon said. "We need to find out about this young man as well."
LoMo seeing some action in the outfield
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Logan Morrison felt a little bit like a fish out of water playing right field Saturday for the Mariners, but the former Marlin could be seeing more time there as spring progresses.
Morrison was a first baseman in the Minor Leagues before playing his first two seasons in the Majors in left field for the Marlins. He transitioned back to first base last season due to a pair of knee surgeries that limited his mobility, but manager Lloyd McClendon wants to see what he can do in right field.
"It's just a matter of getting more reps out there," Morrison said after a somewhat adventurous five innings of work in his debut. "I really haven't played right field in a long time, really since junior college. I played a little bit in the Fall League and a little more in Triple-A right before I got called up."
Morrison had trouble chasing down a ball down the line that got into the corner. He later caught the one pop fly hit his way, but only after reaching back across his body at the last second.
"The one I threw behind the runner and I was told not to do that again," he said. "And the other one I caught I almost overran. Then there was a double I got to in the gap that I should have cut off. But I couldn't see. With a tan bat and it's that bright sun, on a line drive the ball looks like part of the barrel. I didn't see it for a really long time. I just heard it and moved that way."
Morrison was back at first base in the late innings of Sunday's 5-3 win over the Angels and will likely see most of his time either there, backing up Justin Smoak, or at designated hitter. But McClendon is looking for versatility in his backup players and the outfield figures to at least be an option, even though Morrison has only recently begun getting some time there in workouts.
"Lloyd doesn't want me to go out there and put too much stress on my leg," Morrison said. "The outfield, I think, is more get to the balls you can get to. And the balls you can't get to, get to them as fast as you can, throw them in and hit your cutoff man. As long as I keep it that simple, it'll be fine."
• Robinson Cano will return from the Dominican Republic on Tuesday, but won't play until Wednesday's game against the Brewers after flying home Friday to deal with a personal issue, according to manager Lloyd McClendon. The Mariners have Monday off, their first off day of the spring.
• Veteran right-hander Scott Baker threw 75 pitches over 4 2/3 innings in a Minor League start against the Brewers' Triple-A team Sunday in Peoria, allowing five hits with four strikeouts and two walks.
The Mariners' Minor League teams played their first games of the spring Sunday and a few Major Leaguers got in some extra work with the Triple-A team in their opener, as catcher John Buck and shortstop Nick Franklin also played.
• Outfielder Michael Saunders is swinging a productive bat this spring. He went 2-for-3 with an RBI on Sunday against the Angels, extending his hit streak to seven games and he has driven in a team-leading 11 RBIs with a .367 average.
• Edgar Martinez arrived in camp Sunday and Jay Buhner is expected to arrive Monday as the two members of the Mariners Hall of Fame will work as special instructors in both the Major and Minor League camps over the next week.