Mariners to convert waiver claim Cowart into 2-way player
Ezra Shaw / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Seattle Mariners claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels on Monday and appear to have big plans for the light-hitting infielder.

Seattle announced Cowart will come to spring training as both an infielder and right-handed pitcher and will compete for a spot on the team's 2019 roster as a two-way player, according to Greg Johns of MLB.com.

Cowart has never taken the mound during his professional career but he's far from unfamiliar with pitching. In high school he starred as a two-way player and was particularly excellent on the mound, going 10-1 with a 1.05 ERA and 116 strikeouts in his senior year en route to being named Gatorade National Player of the Year in 2010.

The 26-year-old has played all four infield positions and some outfield. He signed with the Angels as an infielder but has struggled to hit as a professional, sporting a career .177/.241/.293 slash line with six homers and 33 RBIs over parts of four major-league seasons.

His hitting issues have been so pronounced that the thought of Cowart pitching actually isn't new. The Angels considered converting him in 2014 when they were run by Jerry Dipoto. Dipoto is now the Mariners' general manager and claimed Cowart on Monday.

Cowart is now the latest light-hitting position player to try and fill a two-way role in recent seasons. In 2017, the San Diego Padres attempted to convert catcher Christian Bethancourt, though the experiment failed. Former big-league outfielder Anthony Gose is currently trying to get back to the majors as a two-way player; he made 28 appearances on the mound and another 11 as an outfielder and DH in the Rangers' system this year, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Successful two-way players of late include reigning AL Rookie of the Year (and Cowart's now-former teammate) Shohei Ohtani and highly regarded Tampa Bay Rays prospect Brendan McKay.

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Mariners to convert waiver claim Cowart into 2-way player
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