The 22-year-old infielder started at second base against San Diego Tuesday night after being recalled from AAA Tacoma on Monday.
Nick Franklin didn’t expect to get to the majors too soon, but the Mariners’ first-round draft pick out of high school in 2009 also didn’t expect to spend too much time in the minors.
Four years later, the 22-year-old infielder made his first major-league start Tuesday night at Safeco Field against San Diego, and said he’s glad Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik gave him time to grow.
“As young as I was, going into the organization, I thought more sooner than later,” Franklin said of his expected arrival. “But as I went through the minor-league system and started developing, I realized that I still had things to do and still had things to learn. I’m actually happy Jack took me through that process.”
The biggest take-away for Franklin was learning how to fail. Many touted prospects like him often go to the minors knowing nothing but success. Franklin said he was no different.
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“For a young player like Nick, he most definitely needed all that time,” manager Eric Wedge said. “And you never know, he might need some more. But he’s up here now, and it’s a great opportunity. I’ve seen it go both ways. More times than not, you have to go up and down a few times.”
Franklin batted .324 with four home runs and nine doubles in 39 games at Class AAA Tacoma. He was 0 for 4 with a fielding error in Seattle’s 6-1 loss to the Padres.
His promotion coincided with the decision to send second baseman Dustin Ackley to Tacoma.
Wedge wasn’t sure if Franklin would start a string of games, but said he will play. How long he will stay is another matter, because Ackley will likely return.
“I don’t really look in-depth to that,” Franklin said. “I just look at it as they’re giving me an opportunity to play and I’m going to make it for what it’s worth and don’t give them any doubts about me.”
• Wedge said 1B Justin Smoak took swings for the first time since his oblique muscle tightened Saturday. Smoak, who hasn’t played since then, will take batting practice Wednesday.
• Wedge said OF Franklin Gutierrez, who is rehabbing in Tacoma after a hamstring injury, is moving better. Gutierrez has two hits in each of his last two games for the Rainiers.
• Padres C Yasmani Grandal was reinstated from the restricted list and started Tuesday night. He missed the first 50 games this year while serving a suspension for a positive testosterone test.