Mariners send reliever Leone to minors, recall Smith

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) The Seattle Mariners sent reliever Dominic Leone to Triple-A Tacoma on Friday and recalled Carson Smith to take his place in the bullpen.

Leone was 8-2 with a 2.17 ERA in 57 games for the Mariners last season, a key part of their strong bullpen. But the right-hander allowed 10 earned runs in seven innings this spring.

''I think the world of the young man. He just wasn't throwing very well. In good conscience I just couldn't take him north with me,'' Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. ''Quite frankly, the slider was not as sharp as it needs to be.''

Leone was tagged for three runs in two-thirds of an inning Wednesday during a Cactus League game.

''I understand I didn't have the greatest of springs. I always have stuff to work on. It's tough when it kind of blindsides you like that,'' Leone said.

Smith, optioned to Tacoma on Sunday, had a 4.15 ERA in eight Cactus League innings. The right-hander did not allow a run in 8 1-3 major league innings last season.

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