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December 21, 2012 at 3:20 PM

Mariners sign Kennewick native Jeremy Bonderman to minor league deal

Former Pasco High School standout Jeremy Bonderman has begun a comeback by signing a minor league deal with the Mariners that will include an invitation to spring training. Photo Credit: AP

This move is not intended to be the replacement answer for Jason Vargas. At least not yet.

But the Mariners have signed former Pasco High School star Jeremy Bonderman, a native of Kennewick, to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Bonderman hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2010 and underwent “Tommy John” ligament transplant surgery last April.

Once upon a time, Bonderman, 30, looked to be a rising star within the Detroit Tigers organization. He made his big league debut at age 20 and a few years later went 14-8 with a 4.08 ERA over 214 innings for the Tigers in 2006, when they reached the World Series.

The former first-round pick by Oakland in 2001 went 67-77 with a 4.89 ERA in 207 career appearances, of which 193 were starts.

In a recent interview with Buster Olney of ESPN, Bonderman said he’d dropped 30 pounds and now carries about 210 — the same as he did coming out of Pasco High.

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