PEORIA, Ariz. -- Outfielder Jeremy Reed, the Mariners' starting center fielder on Opening Day the past two seasons, will open this season in the Minor Leagues. Reed was among the Mariners' roster cuts on Wednesday morning, sent to Triple-A Tacoma, along with right-handed pitcher Sean Green, left-hander Eric O'Flaherty and catcher Rene Rivera. Veteran right-hander Aaron Small was reassigned to Minor League camp. The latest batch of roster moves leaves Seattle with 33 players in big-league camp, including six non-roster invitees. It appears that at least three and possibly four of the invitees will be on the Mariners' Opening Day roster -- catcher Jamie Burke, a 35-year-old who has never been with a Major League team on Opening Day; lefty reliever Arthur Rhodes and right-hander Brandon Morrow.
Infielder Rey Ordonez also has a good shot of opening the season at Safeco Field on Monday. Mariners manager Mike Hargrove plans to begin the season with a 12-man pitching staff. The biggest surprise would be Morrow, the club's first-round pick out of the University of California in last June's First-Year Player Draft. Morrow, who has 13 professional innings under his belt, has been the star of the pitching show this spring, allowing one earned run over 8 1/3 innings. Reed's demotion was the most surprising of Wednesday's moves. Acquired from the Chicago White Sox along with catcher Miguel Olivo and Minor League infielder Mike Morse on June 27, 2004, for right-handed starter Freddy Garcia, catcher Ben Davis and cash, Reed batted .397 for Seattle during a late-season callup from Triple-A Tacoma. "That's the bad side of this job, having to do this, especially this time of spring," manager Mike Hargove said. "[Cutting] Jeremy was one of the toughet ones I've ever had to do. It was not fun, but we all felt it was the right thing to do."
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.