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Mariners notebook: Walker, Almonte making debuts

By Shannon Drayer

Big day for the Mariners as not one but two prospects will make their Major League debuts. Taijuan Walker’s debut was expected. Abraham Almonte’s? Not so much.

Almonte was a surprise callup Friday morning shortly after the Michael Morse trade. Any thought that he was an extra until September callups was put to rest when the lineups were announced.

Brad Miller, 6
Nick Franklin, 4
Kyle Seager, 5
Kendrys Morales, DH
Raul Ibanez, 7
Justin Smoak, 3
Dustin Ackley, 8
Abraham Almonte, 9
Henry Blanco, 2

Abraham (which he prefers over Abe) Almonte is playing right and hitting eighth. Almonte, who was acquired from the Yankees in exchange for Shawn Kelley earlier this year, started the season at Double-A and finished strong at Triple-A, posting a .314 average with a .403 OBP in 94 games. He also swiped 20 bases.

Earlier this week, general manager Jack Zduriencik talked about Almonte when addressing the topic of possible September callups.

“I’m a big fan. I really like a lot about this guy,” he said. “If he gets here to the big leagues with us he will have the best throwing arm in this outfield. He is a well-above-average runner. He is a great kid, gem of a person. Stocky, strong built guy. I really like the strides that he made and what we have seen out of this kid.”

So Almonte is up and apparently up to play. Walker is set for his debut and the Mariners will look to win their second straight game.

One last thing before I head back to the clubhouse: Ken Rosenthal of spoke with Scott Boras, the agent for Kendrys Morales, earlier Friday had an article stating that it was looking more and more likely that Morales would be heading to free agency. He also tipped his hand to what his marketing strategy would be.

From the article:

“Boras said Friday that he expressed to the Mariners his plan to market Morales as a hitter whose offensive statistics would improve if he played his home games in a park other than Seattle’s pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.”

Interesting strategy seeing that Morales’s splits are almost equal, not just this year but over his career, and Anaheim Stadium has been almost as much of a pitcher’s park as Safeco. If I find time this afternoon, look for a video post on this issue and also some insight into some other things in Rosenthal’s article.

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