Who’s on first plus more on the Zunino promotion

Aug 14, 2012, 1:04 AM | Updated: 9:56 am

By Shannon Drayer

We still don’t have a definitive answer as to what Mike Carp is dealing with in his left hip. Carp did undergo an MRI but Eric Wedge was not sure of the terminology when he met with the media in his post-game press conference, so he described the situation as best he could.

“He does have something going on and because of the position and how much he has to stretch, there is a pretty good chance we will have to put him on the D.L.,” he said.

Wedge said he would meet with Jack Zduriencik and talk about their options. Wedge did say there was a possibility that Justin Smoak could get called back up to the team because of Carp’s injury, but we will know more Tuesday.

Smoak is not the only option the Mariners have. They could keep Dustin Ackley at first and bring up an infielder. Nick Franklin and Carlos Triunfel have experience at second base but the Mariners may not want to bring them up before they’re ready. If they are willing to make a move with the 40-man roster, Luis Rodriguez or Luis Jimenez could be options.

Mike Zunino’s promotion to Double-A is exactly what the Mariners organization expected of their first round draft pick. (AP)

Another option at first in the future may be Jesus Montero, who often takes work there during batting practice. Wedge was asked if he could step in now if needed.

“Not yet, he’s still working on it,” Wedge answered. “We are not going to put him out there until we feel he is ready for it.”

This is a bit of a shift from earlier in the season when Wedge said it wasn’t something they were looking at and that Montero was at first during batting practice on his own accord.

I mentioned in my previous post that it seems obvious Montero will not be the primary catcher going forward. He certainly will DH, but now first base could be an option. For now it appears he is catching less, as Monday was just the eighth time he has caught since the All-Star break. This weekend Wedge said that it is important that Montero learn to be more comfortable as a designated hitter.

Well so far so good I would say. Montero is starting to reach team leader status in a couple different offensive categories.

If you look at the top of the ESPN.com Mariners stats page you see the team leaders in batting average, home runs, RBI, on base percentage and hits. Ichiro remains the hits leader with 105 and until recently still was the average leader at .261. No more. Montero has taken the average lead at .269 and is five hits away from taking the hits lead. Of course he will have to jump Kyle Seager who is at 104. Still, good to see Montero near the top and getting there with 42 less at bats than Seager.

More encouraging news on the young catcher front. You probably have heard by now that the Mariners number one pick this year, Mike Zunino, has been promoted to AA Jackson. Zunino hit .373/.474/.736/.1.210 in 29 games at Everett.

In talking with a couple people within the organization, I found that this is the path they hoped Zunino would take. Get some good work in at Everett shortly after the draft and then bypass Clinton (A) and High Desert (A) and getting to Jackson (AA) where he can experience a playoff run as well as catch Taijuan Walker, James Paxton and Brandon Maurer.

It will be very interesting to see what he does at AA where the pitching takes a big jump in talent. Regardless of what happens at Jackson, Zunino will have more work ahead of him as he is slated to play fall ball. After that he most likely will get an invitation to spring training. Hard to imagine that he would be allowed to compete, but thanks to the new CBA and signing deadline he could have around 80 professional games under his belt before the spring. Could this experience pull him closer to a debut sometime in 2013? It is a lot to expect but maybe, just maybe, not completely out of the question.

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Who’s on first plus more on the Zunino promotion