Position Remains The Question For Mariners' Marder





PEORIA, Ariz.—Jack Marder's brief professional résumé—featuring the rare combination of a nearly equal amount of games at catcher and second base—immediately brings to mind longtime Astros star Craig Biggio.

That's appropriate, because the 23-year-old Marder puts Biggio near the top of the list of players he emulates, along with childhood favorite Brett Butler. "It's a small-guy thing," laughs the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Marder.

In Biggio, Marder sees the kind of player he hopes to be for the Mariners: fiery, versatile and productive.

"If anyone compared me to him, I'd be pretty thrilled," he said.

A 16th-round pick out of Oregon in 2011, Marder has displayed all three attributes in his first two seasons, totaling 83 games entirely at high Class A High Desert.

Marder has impressed the Mariners with his all-out style of play. Farm director Chris Gwynn notes that Marder can play third and outfield in addition to catcher and second base. And he has raked so far, putting up a .352/.416/.564 line in 400 plate appearances.

"He can really hit," Gwynn said. "He's a gamer. He plays hard. He's that kid on the Little League team who's always dirty when he gets out of the car. He's very, very competitive."

The big question as Marder participated in Mariners minor league mini-camp was whether his catching duties will continue. He missed considerable time last year from the after-effects of a concussion, which he sustained running into a concrete backstop while chasing a foul ball in San Jose.

Seattle had to curtail his catching when he returned and will proceed cautiously this season. His long-term future may be at second base, but Marder isn't quite ready to hang up the tools of ignorance.

"My catching days, in my eyes, are not done, and never will be," he said. "I love catching too much to ever put it down. But I just want to be on the field, whether it's first base, right field or pitching . . . I've been preparing to catch and play multiple positions."

And hopefully not bang himself up so much.

"It's hard. They want me to maybe not run into the wall or dive for the baseball, but I don't think I'll ever be able to change the way I play baseball," he said.

Marinade

• The Mariners were eager to finally see shortstop Cavan Cohoes , their ninth-round pick in 2011. The 19-year-old  played his high school ball in Stuttgart, Germany, but missed all of last season with hamstring issues.

• The Mariners obtained outfielder Abe Almonte from the Yankees for reliever Shawn Kelley. Almonte, 23, stole 30 bases in 78 games for Double-A Trenton last year.