Zunino impresses, Carp to first and a Guti update

Jul 3, 2012, 11:08 PM

By Shannon Drayer

Zunino

Busy day at the park. At 1:00 the Mariners first pick and number three pick overall in the draft was introduced in a press conference. Always interesting to see and talk to the number one guy for the first time. I interviewed him for Beyond the Baselines and it was one of the better first interviews I have had. Zunino was comfortable being interviewed and seemed very genuine. No cliches, no evidence of being coached up by his agency. Refreshing. As for the eye test, he is not as big as I thought he would be, certainly not the 6’2 220 the University of Florida has him listed as. Regardless he put on a show at early batting practice.

In the first two rounds he rolled over a lot of pitches and didn’t seem to interested in going the other way. In the third round he exploded hitting the first three balls out to right with one going into the visitors pen, one going over the out of town scoreboard and a third going upper deck between the 710 ESPN sign and Jackie Robinson 42. He also hit a ball further to the right over the US Bank sign and finally, One off the far end of the out of town scoreboard. None were down the line, most were left center and deep.

He hit in an early group with Brendan Ryan, Miguel Olivo and Jesus Montero with several other Mariners looking on. There was some good natured ribbing of the kid going on before he stepped into the cage. When he started hitting them out it was Montero who took the abuse much like he did on draft day. Like that day he took it well and smiled.

monteroMontero put in a ton of early work this afternoon both behind and at the plate. After Jeff Datz put the catchers through blocking and throwing drills Montero did some tee work on the field. They are trying to get Montero back to going the other way, something we haven’t seen much from him since spring training. As you can see, the stance is extreme, obviously something you wouldn’t take into a game but it gave him the feel. Practice extreme and pull back to the norm in the game is the idea. Every pitch he hit off the tee was hit straight down the right field line. It looked like he took this into the game fouling off four pitches to the right side before striking out.

Away from the catchers there was other significant news as Eric Wedge announced that Mike Carp would soon leave for his rehab assignment. I asked if he was throwing yet and Wedge said no, and then threw something interesting out. When he does start throwing and playing in the field during his assignment, it will not be in left. It will be at first base. Eric Wedge feels that with the shoulder problems it will be best to keep him out of the outfield.

“I want him to be healthy, I want to see him hit and I want to be able to evaluate him and look at him and get him back here,” Wedge said. “So right now, we’re just going to focus on first base for him. We tried to do it the first time in the outfield, it didn’t work. It affected his swing.”

So when Carp returns he will get is at bats at DH and first. This obviously turns the heat up on Justin Smoak.

The other piece of injury news was about Franklin Gutierrez who has been coming in daily to get checked out after suffering the concussion. Wedge said that he cannot as of yet put a date on his return.

“He’s still a little off,” he said. “I think it would be a stretch to say that he would be back before the All Star break. He is having a total evaluation later today. He’s getting better, but not quite where he needs to be yet.”

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