ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — After taking a pair of high-school power hitters on the first day of the 2014 major league amateur draft, the Mariners used the second day to load up on college pitchers.
The Mariners made eight selections in rounds three through 10, selecting college pitchers with six of those picks.
Even with the run on pitching, the Mariners still used their first pick on Friday — third round, No. 80 overall — to take center fielder Austin Cousino out of the University of Kentucky.
At 5 feet 10, 185 pounds, Cousino isn’t an imposing figure. But he has some speed and was considered by many scouts to be one of the top defensive outfielders in college this season. He recorded 17 career outfield assists and was a three-time Southeastern Conference all-defensive team selection. He also was awarded a Rawlings Gold Glove in 2013. As a hitter, Cousino batted .308 (81 for 263) this past season with 23 extra-base hits and 38 RBI in 61 games.
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The other position player the Mariners selected on the second day of the draft came with their last pick of the day — 10th round, pick No. 291. Seattle took catcher Adam Martin of Western Carolina University. Martin was first-team All-Southern Conference as a senior, hitting .307 (67 for 202) with 10 doubles, 14 home runs and 65 RBI in 54 games.
In between those two position players, the Mariners took six straight pitchers — three left-handed and three right-handed.
Of the six, one of the more interesting selections was right-hander Dan Altavilla out of Mercyhurst College in the fifth round (No. 141 overall). Altavilla was the best pitcher in NCAA Division II this season, going 9-1 with a 1.23 ERA in 12 starts with five shutouts. He struck out a school-record 129 batters. He was named 2014 ABCA/Rawlings Division II National Pitcher of the Year.
A little reminiscing
Manager Lloyd McClendon was asked about his memories of manager Don Zimmer, who passed away a few days ago. McClendon played for Zimmer on the 1989 Cubs team that reached the National League Championship Series. He also became friends with Zimmer over the years. They spent many a day at the horse track.
“I got a lot of favorite stories, most of them I can’t share with you,” McClendon said. “I got up yesterday and I was getting ready to go to the track and I realized Zim was not picking me up. Jim (Leyland) and I had been going to the track with him the last eight or nine years. I will miss that.”
McClendon grinned at the mention of the 1989 season.
“It was a hell of a ride,” McClendon said.
How should Zimmer be remembered?
“I’m sure there’s some that like him, some that love him and some really don’t care either way,” McClendon said. “But Zim was an institution.”
• McClendon still hasn’t named his Monday starter. But it won’t be Hisashi Iwakuma, who will get an extra day between starts.
McClendon was careful not to say that Erasmo Ramirez, slotted in that spot in the rotation, would be starting.
McClendon confirmed that Taijuan Walker will stay in the same rotation with Class AAA Tacoma as well. So he’s a possibility, though they’d prefer him to make at least one more rehab start if not more.
There’s a chance veteran minor- leaguer Matt Palmer, who started on Thursday night for Tacoma, could be called up to make that start.
• Starter James Paxton (shoulder) will begin playing catch on Monday.
• Outfielder Michael Saunders left Friday’s game with a sore shoulder. Dustin Ackley replaced Saunders.
|Mariners draft picks, rounds 3-10|
|Player||Round selected (overall)||Note|
|Austin Cousino, CF, University of Kentucky||3 (80)||Batted .308 with 23 extra-base hits and 38 RBI in 61 games for the Wildcats.|
|Ryan Yarbrough, LHP, Old Dominion||4 (111)||Went 6-7 with a 4.50 ERA in 18 games (14 starts) during his senior season.|
|Dan Altavilla, RHP, Mercyhurst College||5 (141)||Named the 2014 Rawlings Division II National Pitcher of the Year after going 9-1|
|Lane Ratliff, LHP, Jones County Junior College||6 (171)||Was 8-3 with a 3.08 ERA in 13 starts in 2014.|
|Taylor Byrd, LHP, Nicholls State||7 (201)||Had an 8-3 record with a 1.92 ERA.|
|Kody Kerski, RHP, Sacred Heart University||8 (231)||Went 7-3 with a 2.42 ERA as a senior.|
|Peter Miller, RHP, Florida State||9 (261)||Went 3-4 with a 5.14 ERA in 41 innings pitched.|
|Adam Martin, C, Western Carolina||10 (291)||Had 195 career hits in 192 games at Western Carolina.|