M's keep Myers, obtain Cabrera

The Mariners continued to tweak their roster on Saturday, just three days before Opening Day on April 6th.

Seattle added a veteran utility player on Saturday, obtaining 31-year-old Jolbert Cabrera from Los Angeles in return for a pair of pitching prospects. With Scott Spiezio placed on the disabled list due to nagging back spasms, the M's needed insurance and acted fast by working out a deal with the Dodgers to bring Cabrera to Seattle.

Cabrera first broke into the majors with Cleveland in 1998 at the age of 25 and spent the past season-and-a-half with the Dodgers after a mid-season trade from the Tribe in 2002.

In return for the 6-foot right-handed hitter, the M's gave up LHP Ryan Ketchner and RHP Aaron Looper.

Ketchner, born 75 percent deaf and rated the No. 10 prospect in the M's organization by InsidethePark.com, pitched very well last season at High-A Inland Empire and is a bigger loss for Seattle. Ketchner went 14-7 with a 3.45 ERA and a 159-to-33 strikeout-to-walk ratio with the 66ers last year.

Looper, son of M's Vice President of Player Development and Scouting Benny Looper, spent, pitched lights-out this spring after a solid 2003 season at Tacoma. The 27-year-old had a 1.93 ERA in six spring games, and was 5-2 with a 3.11 ERA last year at Triple-A Tacoma.

Cabrera is capable of playing the outfield and infield both, and is a boost to the M's light-hitting bench. He hit .282 with 32 doubles, 6 home runs and 37 RBI in 347 at bats with the Dodgers last season.

His addition meant there was no room for 24-year-old Ramon Santiago, who had done all he could to earn a spot with the big-league club this spring after coming over in the offseason Carlos Guillen trade with Detroit. Santiago hit .377 (20-53) down in Arizona, and appeared to have earned a spot with the M's before the move was made.

Also cut from the M's roster on Saturday was veteran left-hander Terry Mulholland, who was 2-1 with a 4.00 ERA in 9 games this spring. Making the team in his place was lefty Mike Myers, who appeared to be a longshot at the beginning of camp but never allowed a run all spring in nine outings (10 innings), earning a spot.

The placement of Spiezio on the disabled list will leave the third base duties up to Willie Bloomquist, who batted just .219 (14-67) this spring, and Cabrera. Cabrera, who has played at third base in 35 big league games, batted .295 (18-61) in the Grapefruit League this spring, and showed some pop in the bat with four homers.

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