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Tuivailala clears waivers, now a free agent

@gregjohnsmlb
March 23, 2020

SEATTLE -- Mariners reliever Sam Tuivailala, who was placed on unconditional release waivers on Friday, cleared waivers on Monday and is now a free agent. The 27-year-old right-hander came into spring expected to compete for a spot as one of the club’s late-inning relievers after posting a 2.35 ERA with

SEATTLE -- Mariners reliever Sam Tuivailala, who was placed on unconditional release waivers on Friday, cleared waivers on Monday and is now a free agent.

The 27-year-old right-hander came into spring expected to compete for a spot as one of the club’s late-inning relievers after posting a 2.35 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 23 innings last season after rehabbing from a ruptured right Achilles tendon.

But Tuivailala dealt with an impingement in his right shoulder for most of the Mariners’ first month of Spring Training and had yet to throw in a Cactus League game, so his status going forward was uncertain after agreeing to an $800,000 contract in his first season of arbitration eligibility.

Tuivailala was acquired by the Mariners from the Cardinals in a trade for Minor League pitcher Seth Elledge on July 27, 2018, and allowed one earned run and six hits in 5 1/3 innings over five outings with Seattle that season before injuring his Achilles tendon and undergoing surgery.

He rejoined the Mariners in mid-July last season and pitched in 23 games, leading to the belief that he’d be a key part of Seattle’s rebuilding squad in 2020. But his velocity was down and he labored in several intrasquad outings before Spring Training was put on hold by MLB due to the coronavirus situation.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.