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Matt Tuiasosopo might face his last chance with Mariners

I should just leave that headline out there, but that would be cruel.

One of the biggest attributes Matt Tuiasosopo has provided the Mariners the last two years is versatility. He played at six different positions for Seattle in 2010.

But in what looms as a potential make-or-break season for the player who was the team’s top pick in the 2004 draft (in the third round), the Mariners have asked Tuiasosopo to focus for the rest of the spring on left field and first base.

Tuiasosopo said he was informed of the new plan in a recent meeting with manager Eric Wedge.

“They just talked to me the other day and told me that they wanted me to concentrate on those two positions,” he said.

Tuiasosopo said he will still take a few balls at third base, but that the goal now is to get “more confident and comfortable over there in covering those two positions.”

Tuiasosopo, younger brother of former UW football players Marques and Zach Tuiasosopo, has been a standout of the past two Mariners spring trainings but has struggled to translate that success to the regular season. He has a .176 average in 71 career games — .173 in 50 games and 127 at-bats last season.

With the team again starting over, under Wedge, and the Mariners not seeming to lack for veteran options to fill the utility player role, many observers have surmised this might be Tuiasosopo’s last chance to make a mark.

He has one option left on his contract, meaning he can be sent down to Tacoma and brought back up to the big club. But if the option is used, then he has no more contract flexibility with the Mariners beyond 2011 (meaning he couldn’t be sent down without being exposed to other teams).

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