Newly signed draft pick Dustin Ackley thinks his best position is the outfield, even if the Mariners are a bit crowded in that area. That's all good for...
DETROIT — Newly signed draft pick Dustin Ackley thinks his best position is the outfield, even if the Mariners are a bit crowded in that area.
That’s all good for Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik, who has been down that road before and isn’t opposed to crowding up one position with talented young players.
And to hear Zduriencik speak, the outfield is where Ackley will play.
“When I was with Milwaukee, we drafted Corey Hart as a first baseman, Prince Fielder as a first baseman and Brad Nelson as a first baseman,” Zduriencik said by phone Tuesday night. “Everyone said, ‘You took three first basemen.’ But look at what happened. Hart became an All-Star in right field, Fielder became an All-Star at first base, and Nelson, well, he’s still finding his way a bit at the major-league level and that’s not unusual for a young player. But two of the three became All-Stars. And any time that happens, you have to be pleased with how things turned out.”
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Zduriencik added: “It’s what I said all along. It’s all about talent. If you accumulate talent, everything will sort itself out eventually.”
There had been speculation the Mariners would try to convert Ackley into a second baseman in the event Jose Lopez is moved out of that position. Ackley spent much of this past year at first base for North Carolina, recovering from 2008 elbow ligament transplant surgery.
“I think my best position is outfield,” Ackley said. “I think that’s where I have great opportunity to succeed as far as running down balls and using my athleticism.”
Ackley flew home to North Carolina on Tuesday and was to spend a couple of days gathering his things before reporting to the team’s training complex in Arizona. The No. 2 overall pick had flown to California on Monday to take a physical ahead of signing a five-year major-league deal worth a guaranteed $7.5 million, plus added money if he makes the major leagues quickly.
But even after passing the physical, he spent several “nerve-wracking” hours until hearing a deal was done just before Monday’s 9 p.m. deadline.
“It’s kind of crazy to think that I am a team’s No. 1 pick,” he said. “I hope I’m able to go out and perform and show everybody what I’ve been doing the past three years.”
• LHP Jarrod Washburn had all kinds of good things to say about the Mariners and Seattle before Tuesday’s game. But he wants to put all of that behind him — he has to focus on getting the Tigers into the playoffs. Though forgetting the Mariners won’t be easy — especially since he pitches against them Thursday.
“I have to move on,” he said. “Not that I’ll forget how great it was there. But for now and the time being, for me to be successful as a Tiger, I have to worry about just being a Tiger and moving on and trying to adjust.”
• The Mariners had hoped to have SS Jack Wilson (hamstring) and LF Michael Saunders (shoulder) in the lineup Tuesday, but both were on the bench. In fact, Wilson now says he’ll probably be out until Friday.
“I could play right now if I had to,” he said. “But the team doesn’t want me out there playing if something could happen. They don’t want to take that chance if they really don’t have to.”
• RHP Carlos Silva (shoulder) threw a 53-pitch bullpen session during which he mixed in some breaking balls. He’ll get an extra day’s rest, throw another bullpen session on Friday and then, if all goes well, will possibly throw a simulated game. After that, he’ll go out for what manager Don Wakamatsu said could be a “two- or three-inning” minor-league stint.