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Versatile Sardinas vying for utility role

Infielder feels Seattle is where he belongs, aims to help Mariners win
MLB.com

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners infielder Luis Sardinas, traded twice last year, is looking for a permanent home. He believes he's found one in Seattle, in large part because he can move around the infield.

"I feel great and really appreciative of the opportunity the Mariners are giving me," Sardinas said in Spanish. "My job and my goal is the same: make the team and help the Mariners win."

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners infielder Luis Sardinas, traded twice last year, is looking for a permanent home. He believes he's found one in Seattle, in large part because he can move around the infield.

"I feel great and really appreciative of the opportunity the Mariners are giving me," Sardinas said in Spanish. "My job and my goal is the same: make the team and help the Mariners win."

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Sardinas is only 22, but he's already been on quite a journey. He signed with the Rangers as an amateur international free agent at 16 on July 2, 2009, out of Venezuela and made his pro debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League the next year. He made his big league debut April 20, 2014, at age 20.

The speedy infielder would go on to hit .261 with 30 hits in 43 games for the Rangers that season, but his time in Texas would quickly come to an end.

Sardinas' position on the depth chart behind Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus and second baseman Rougned Odor was part of the reason he was sent to the Brewers with pitchers Marcos Diplan and Corey Knebel for pitcher Yovani Gallardo. Last November, Sardinas was then traded from the Brewers to the Mariners for outfielder Ramon Flores not long after Milwaukee traded for infielder Jonathan Villar.

"Things happen for a reason, and being traded twice is one of those things," Sardinas said. "I feel it's going to work out for me and this is where I belong. That's part of the game."

This spring, Sardinas is competing for the utility job against Chris Taylor and Shawn O'Malley, essentially a backup role at shortstop behind Ketel Marte and second base behind Robinson Cano. Sardinas played some third base during the past three seasons in winter ball in Venezuela and has played 10 games at the position in the big leagues.

"Sardinas is an interesting player," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "He brings a tool set, and he can do a lot of different things on the field to help you win a game. He's a very good shortstop, and he can play second. He can play third. He switch-hits, and he's a plus runner. That's a very valuable skill set to have off the bench, and you can use him in a number of different spots, especially the switch-hit tool."

Sardinas has been praised for his defense since his early days with the Rangers, but he's also been tagged with a "light-hitting infielder," label since the Minor Leagues. The 6-foot-1, 150-pound infielder hit .196 with 19 hits in 36 games with Milwaukee. Overall, he has seven extra-base hits with 12 RBIs in 79 big league games.

It's uncertain if the Mariners are prepared to use Sardinas for extended periods at second base or shortstop if necessary.

"I feel like I came to camp prepared," Sardinas said. "I know playing in Venezuela has helped me develop and get better. I want to show them that in my time here."

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Luis Sardinas