Mariners change Class A affiliate

Midwest League representative is now Clinton, Iowa

(Ted S. Warren/AP)

By Jim Street / | September 22, 2008 6:50 PM

SEATTLE -- The Mariners are keeping a Minor League club in the Midwest League, but for the first time in 17 years, it won't be in Appleton, Wis.

Beginning in 2009, the Mariners will have a Class A club in Clinton, Iowa.

The new arrangement with Clinton was announced by the Mariners on Monday, along with the news that the organization has extended its working relationship with Class A Advanced High Desert of the California League through 2010.

"It was a good 16 years with Appleton, and we had a lot of good players go through there," said Greg Hunter, the Mariners' director of player development. "We wish them well and look forward to our association with the Clinton Baseball Club."

The Wisconsin franchise decided to end its relationship with the Mariners and become affiliated with the nearby Milwaukee Brewers. The Clinton franchise became available when the Rangers moved their Class A club to Hickory, N.C.

The Mariners are the 12th parent club that the Clinton Baseball Club has had since it joined the Midwest League in 1956.

Hunter said the new arrangement actually works better for the Mariners because Clinton is more centrally located in the Midwest League and the 71-year-old stadium recently underwent a $4.2 million facelift. There are now two climate-controlled indoor batting cages and pitching mounds that can be utilized during inclement weather.

"It's an old facility, built in 1937," Hunter said, "but they did a good job of keeping an old-ballpark feel. The clubhouses were built two years ago, and it really is a good situation for us."

The long list of Mariners who played the early years of their careers with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers includes pitchers Felix Hernandez, J.J. Putz, Joel Pineiro, Gil Meche and Mark Lowe, catcher Jeff Clement and infielders Bryan LaHair and Alex Rodriguez.

The Mariners and High Desert first entered into a player-development contract prior to the start of the 2007 season. In the two years with the Mariners, the Mavericks have compiled a 112-168 record, including going 54-86 in 2008.

Seattle has been affiliated in the California League for the past eight years, winning the California League championship in 2003 and '06.

The working agreements announced on Monday complete the Mariners' Minor League lineup for next season. Tacoma returns as the Triple-A team, the Double-A team will be in West Tennessee for the second year and the Class A short-season team again will be in Everett, Wash.

Jim Street is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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