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March 19, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Mariners release Kuo

The Mariners have just made a not unexpected move, releasing left-handed reliever Hong-Chih Kuo.
The move leaves the Mariners with 39 players in their Major League camp: 31 roster players and 8 non-roster invitees.
Kuo was signed as a free agent last month, the Mariners hoping he could regain the form he showed in 2010 when he made the NL All-Star team while with the Dodgers and help fill a role as a left-hander in the bullpen. Kuo’s release may increase the chances of Rule 5 draftee Lucas Luetge to make the team. I wrote about Luetge today.
But Kuo struggled throughout and had a 17.55 ERA in 6.2 innings, allowing five home runs and a .417 batting average against.
I had talked to Kuo after the game yesterday, planning a note on him in the next day or two, and he said he felt healthy — he’d had back issues last year and elbow issues in 2010 — and thought he was beginning to find his form,
I’d talked to pitching coach Carl Willis as well and he said of Kuo that: “He shows signs but he’s been erratic with his fastball, his breaking ball has been in and out at times. He just hasn’t been able to put it all together just yet.”
If he clears waivers, it sounds as if the Mariners would be willing to sign him as a minor leaguer.

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