Mariners coach Stearns steps aside

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Updated: 3/07 9:52 am

Peoria, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Seattle Mariners third base coach John Stearns has decided to resign his duties as he continues to recover from surgery for a hiatal hernia.

Stearns told the team he cannot perform the functions of the position. He will be re-assigned within the organization as a pro scout.

"I am not physically able to perform the role of third base coach yet, and it appears that I will not be able to perform the job until the middle of April," said Stearns. "It is not fair to the organization, to (manager) Lloyd (McClendon) or to the players for me to expect to jump back in after not being able to participate in the bulk of spring training. I think this decision is in the best interest of the Mariners. I don't want to be a distraction, and I don't want the players to have to deal with a change-up just as their season is starting."

Stearns underwent surgery in late February and has been out of spring training since.

The Mariners will promote Rich Donnelly from the managerial position at Triple-A Tacoma to take over for Stearns. Donnelly was previously a third base coach for the Pirates, Marlins, Rockies, Brewers and Dodgers.

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