The Mariners' selection of a catcher with their first pick in the draft brought howls of good-natured laughter.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — All Jesus Montero wanted to do was watch a little television with his buddies.
But Montero quickly became the focal point of attention in the visitors’ clubhouse here as the Major League Baseball amateur draft played out on a big-screen clubhouse television. When it was announced that the Mariners had selected University of Florida catcher Mike Zunino with the third overall pick, Montero’s teammates and coaches erupted with howls of laughter and jabs aimed his way.
“They’re coming for you! He’s coming to get you!” bullpen coach Jaime Navarro shouted at Montero in broken English, jabbing his finger for emphasis.
Mariners ace Felix Hernandez could be heard calling out: “Hey, Montero! You’re going back to Pulaski!” The Mariners’ advanced rookie-level affiliate is in Pulaski, Va.
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Montero took the ribbing in stride, seated on his end of a large sofa, smiling and nodding.
At one point, Navarro got up from the sofa and walked around the corner to a coaches’ room. When he came back, he stopped, pointed his thumb behind him and called out: “Hey, Montero! (Mariners catching coach Jeff) Datz wants to see you!”
Once again, the room exploded in laughter.
The barbs were still flying as Montero came out for batting practice. He later wandered over and had a conversation with Angels slugger Albert Pujols, Miguel Olivo and several other Spanish-speaking players, smiling the whole time.
Smoak named AL Player of Week
Justin Smoak was named AL Player of the Week.
Smoak said pitcher Shawn Kelley told him about it on the team bus en route to the stadium.
“I didn’t even know,” he said. “I don’t get on the Internet and do all that stuff.”
Smoak admitted he was surprised.
“Yeah, I was. I’ve never won one of those before,” he said.
Smoak hit .348 with three home runs, a double, six walks, eight runs batted in and seven runs in six games in Texas and Chicago. After a terrible slump the first six weeks of the season, he went into Monday’s game with a team-high 10 homers and second-best 29 RBI.
“It’s always a grind every day,” he said. “It’s a long season. You work every day to get to where you want to be for game time. It’s felt good the past couple of weeks and hopefully I’ll keep it going from here.”
Hernandez won’t start Wednesday
Hernandez said his back felt better Monday, but he was scratched from his start Wednesday against the Angels. Hector Noesi will start on short rest.
Hernandez, who played a short round of catch on flat ground Monday, is not expected to go on the disabled list.
• Kyle Seager was trying to keep tabs before the game on his younger brother, Corey, a high school shortstop from North Carolina, during the baseball draft. The Mariners had to go out for pregame stretch, so Seager had the team’s video coordinator monitor the MLB Network’s coverage on an iPad in the visitors’ dugout.
Every so often, right before a pick was made, Seager would dash to the dugout to watch. Corey Seager was picked 18th overall by the Los Angeles Dodgers.