Padres release rotation candidate Freddy Garcia

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The Padres signed Freddy Garcia to a minor league contract in January and gave him a legitimate shot at a starting rotation spot this spring. It didn’t work out.

According to MLB.com’s Corey Brock, the Padres granted Garcia his release on Sunday morning. He is now a free agent and can sign with any team.

The 36-year-old right-hander posted a rough 8.71 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in 20 2/3 innings this spring in the Cactus League. Garcia had a 5.20 ERA and 1.37 WHIP in 107 1/3 innings with the Yankees in 2012.

San Diego’s Opening Day rotation will probably be Edinson Volquez, Clayton Richard, Jason Marquis, Eric Stults and Tyson Ross.

Andrew Cashner should be recovered from his offseason hunting injury by the end of April.

Mariners claim Kaleb Cowart off waivers from Angels

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The Mariners announced that the club claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Angels. Interestingly, the Mariners list Cowart as both an outfielder and a right-handed pitcher. Cowart has never pitched professionally, but the Mariners will try him as a two-way player next season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Cowart was a highly regarded pitcher in high school.

Cowart, 26, has played all over the field, spending most of his time at third base and second base, but also logging a handful of innings at first base, shortstop, and left field.  He hasn’t hit much at all, owning a career .177/.241/.293 triple-slash line across 380 plate appearances in the big leagues. It makes sense to try another angle.

Shohei Ohtani, of course, is helping to popularize the rebirth of the two-way player. In his first year in the majors after having played in Japan for five years, Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year Award by posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances along with a 3.31 ERA over 10 starts. Don’t expect Cowart to hit those lofty numbers, but additional versatility could prolong his life in the majors.