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Topic: kameron loe; carson smith; josh kinney; bullpen

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March 22, 2013 at 5:00 AM

First Mariners non-roster pitcher to win a spot is…Kameron Loe

Mariners non-roster invite Kameron Loe participates in a pitcher fielding drill in Peoria, AZ.

Mariners non-roster invite Kameron Loe participates in a pitcher fielding drill in Peoria, AZ.

Well, there we were all pre-occupied with Jon Garland and his bid for the rotation last night when a non-roster guy actually won a spot on the team and it shot right by us. Kameron Loe hasn’t been officially declared a Mariners member yet but he actually won his bullpen spot last night when the Mariners sent Carson Smith down to minor league camp at around 11 p.m. PT.

Now, it’s been pretty clear for a while now that the Mariners were going to give Loe every opportunity to join their bullpen this year. Stephen Pryor and Carter Capps have both had good camps throwing from the right side, but let’s face it, they’ve barely gotten their toes wet — let alone their feet — in the majors. And after Tom Wilhelmsen, that’s a pretty vulnerable right side carrying all that inexperience. So, once Josh Kinney went down to a bizarre injury it pretty much took away all of Loe’s competition, save for Smith, who had a fantastic spring but, as his manager strongly hinted a few days back, was only going to be looked at as future depth for now.

Once it was confirmed last weekend that the Mariners were not going to carry a “long-man” in the bullpen, the job came down to Loe or Smith. Now that Smith is gone, the job is Loe’s barring a trade. But there really is no reason to make a trade. Loe has shown the Mariners what they needed to see this spring. His change-up has been stronger than it’s been for him in the past.

Loe has an opt-out clause in his contract that kicks in Monday. But it’s not going to be an issue.

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