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Woodward declines offer to return to Mariners

SEATTLE -- First-base and infield coach Chris Woodward, who had been offered a contract to stay with the Mariners, has declined that offer and informed the team he won't be returning next year.

Woodward and hitting coach Edgar Martinez were the only coaches on former Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon's staff who were asked to return to their same positions under new manager Scott Servais. Martinez has accepted that offer.

Woodward, 39, told the team he had discussed the situation with his family and decided he wanted to be closer to his home in Florida.

Woodward was the Mariners' infield instructor and first-base coach the past two years under McClendon. He played 12 seasons in the Majors, including two years with Seattle in 2009-10, before retiring in '12. Woodward then signed on as the Mariners' Minor League infield coordinator in '13, before being promoted to the Major League staff in the final months of that season.

Woodward's departure leaves Servais with three coaching openings still to fill. The club has hired Mel Stottlemyre Jr. as pitching coach and Tim Bogar as bench coach, but it still is in the process of interviewing for a third-base coach, a bullpen coach and now a first-base coach.

"I can't say we're close, but we're currently in discussions with a variety of different candidates," general manager Jerry Dipoto said.

The team released bench coach Trent Jewett, third-base coach Rich Donnelly, outfield coach Andy Van Slyke and bullpen coach Mike Rojas after the season. Former pitching coach Rick Waits has been offered a position in the Minor League system.

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast.
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