LAS VEGAS – Wilson Valdez played just one exhibition game with the Seattle Mariners, barely making it to Las Vegas in time to face the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
That one-day tryout, combined with Pokey Reese’s shoulder injury, was enough to earn Valdez the opening-day start at shortstop.
The Mariners, in trimming their roster to the 25-man opening-day limit, placed Reese on the 15-day disabled list Saturday night.
It leaves Valdez, obtained on waivers Friday from the New York Mets, as the starter until Reese is healthy.
Saturday, Valdez started three double plays and fielded seven balls altogether, including the first play in the bottom of the first.
“You put somebody out there to look at him and wouldn’t you know, the first ball of the game they hit right to him,” Hargrove said. “He handled all his chances.”
Valdez spent most of the morning flying to Las Vegas and he arrived about 20 minutes before gametime.
The opening-day roster includes rookie Greg Dobbs, who made the team after a strong spring training. It also lists right-handed pitcher Ryan Franklin, who made 32 starts each of the past two seasons, as a relief pitcher.
The Mariners made numerous moves to get their roster to 25:
* They selected pitchers Jeff Nelson and Aaron Sele from Class AAA Tacoma, a move that had been known since last Wednesday when the Mariners were required to notify the two if they had made the team.
* They placed three players on the 15-day disabled list: Reese, starting pitcher Joel Pineiro and outfielder Chris Snelling.
Pineiro, who battled a sore shoulder much of spring training, will have his DL time retroactive to March 27. He is expected to be available to pitch April 15. Snelling, who had arthroscopic knee surgery in February, is retroactive to March 25.
* They placed right-handed pitcher Scott Atchison, who has a strained right elbow, on the 60-day DL.
* They designated outfielder Abraham Nunez for assignment. The Mariners, who acquired Nunez on waivers last week from the Kansas City Royals, have 10 days to trade, release or re-assign him to the minor leagues and risk losing him on a waiver claim.
* They re-assigned three non-roster players to the minor league camp: pitchers Felix Hernandez and Ryan Rowland-Smith, and infielder Ramon Santiago.
The roster includes four starting pitchers (Jamie Moyer, Gil Meche, Bobby Madritsch and Sele), eight relief pitchers (Franklin, Nelson, Eddie Guardado, Shigetoshi Hasegawa, Ron Villone, J.J. Putz, Julio Mateo and Matt Thornton), two catchers (Miguel Olivo and Dan Wilson), seven infielders (Richie Sexson, Bret Boone, Valdez, Adrian Beltre, Willie Bloomquist, Scott Spiezio and Dobbs) and four outfielders (Ichiro Suzuki, Jeremy Reed, Randy Winn and Raul Ibanez).
Reese came down with a sore shoulder last Sunday and, since then, has played only in Friday’s game against the Cubs. Reese was visibly favoring the shoulder on the three throws he made in the game, but he also showed his flair for spectacular defense when he made a running over-the-shoulder catch of a popup.
“He’s got tremendous range,” Hargrove said. “His glove in our infield is very important. We want him to play if he can.”