Zunino ready to become Mariners everyday catcher

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 15, 2014
The Associated Press Now that he's spent some time in the major leagues, Seattle Mariners catcher Mike Zunino expects big things. ''To get up there and have 50 games under your belt, it's just nice to know. You know what to expect. You know what you need to do, the kind of work you need to put in,'' Zunino said. ''It makes the transition going into this year a little bit easier.'' The former third overall pick of the 2012 draft caught 50 games last season but hit only .214 while striking out 49 times in 173 plate appearances. He's got plenty to work on in spring training, but has gone from trying to make the club out of spring training last year to gearing up for the top job in 2014. The 22-year-old Zunino acknowledged that making the adjustment from Triple-A to the majors so quickly was difficult. A broken bone in his left hand that led to six weeks on the disabled list stalled his progress. ''The biggest thing was just being prepared every day,'' he said. ''The amount of stuff given to you and expected of you was what I needed to get used to. ''Last year it was just the constant trying to prove yourself. This year is the same thing, you never want to take that for granted,'' Zunino added. ''But it's one of those things where now I can have conversations with the pitchers and discuss what they want to change from last year, what they've been working on in the offseason and sort of develop that relationship a little bit more.'' About a month after his call up, the Boston Red Sox came through Safeco Field for a series. It was one of Zunino's ''welcome to the show'' moments. ''To face that lineup and see how they were playing at that time, it's always a good challenge to see where you stand,'' he said. Zunino talks often about the position with his manager, former big league catcher Lloyd McClendon. He also has veteran backstop John Buck to lean on. Buck is being asked to help guide Zunino while preparing himself to play should it take more time for Zunino to produce. ''He's a young kid that got to the big leagues at a rapid pace. The learning curve is really big for him,'' McClendon said. ''Every day's a new adventure for him and we can't lose sight of that. But at the same time he has to be good. He has to be productive. We're not developing at the big league level. Our job is to win games and he needs to be an integral part of that.'' NOTES: McClendon views RHP Brandon Maurer, who made the major league club out of camp last spring, as another candidate for the starting rotation. Seattle has several pitchers up for potentially two spots in the rotation to open the season because Hisashi Iwakuma (injured finger) will likely join the rotation soon after the season starts. Maurer was 5-8 with 14 starts and eight relief appearances last season, which he split between Seattle and Triple-A Tacoma. . Hector Noesi, Erasmo Ramirez, Randy Wolf and former Minnesota Twins pitcher Scott Baker are also in the starting rotation competition mix. . McClendon plans to hold an intrasquad game on Feb. 25, two days before the first spring training game.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Five most anticipated September MLB call-ups
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Madden 17's live commentary tackles Kaepernick controversy

Nationals' Stephen Strasburg expected to return next week

WATCH: Footage surfaces from Tim Tebow’s baseball workout

Teddy Bridgewater suffers serious knee injury at practice?

EON Sports strikes VR partnerships with Miami, PSU

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mike Tyson accused of stealing ice cream treat at U.S. Open

Calvin Johnson to join DWTS, sister says he ‘can’t dance’

Eagles rookie nixes anthem protest after talking to agent

Report: Romo has no ligament damage, to resume training soon

Michael Phelps to be honored with unique Wheaties box

Woman suing Brewers after being struck by foul ball

WATCH: Lorenzo Neal on the one move that caused the demise of the Chargers

Teddy Bridgewater injury puts Vikings' plans up in the air

The hottest MLB pitchers headed into September sprint

Kanye West, Saint Pablo Tour and the anti-celebrity

WATCH: John Randle on the first time he talked trash in the NFL

The hottest hitters in MLB heading into September sprint

Who has the most to prove at the US Open?

Vontaze Burfict on Steelers: ‘I don’t give no f—s about them’

Alistair Overeem: Brock Lesnar will never return to UFC

Top five Heisman Trophy candidates for 2016

Five young NFL players set to explode in 2016

A sports history of not standing up for the national anthem

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Lorenzo Neal on the one move that caused the demise of the Chargers

The hottest MLB pitchers headed into September sprint

West-ern Literature: How Kanye's fans find meaning in between the lines

Madden 17's live commentary tackles Kaepernick controversy

Kanye West, Saint Pablo Tour and the anti-celebrity

WATCH: John Randle on the first time he talked trash in the NFL

The hottest hitters in MLB heading into September sprint

Who has the most to prove at the US Open?

A sports history of not standing up for the national anthem

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker