Dustin Ackley’s debut as a Seattle Mariners outfielder will have to wait.
Ackley did not start Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, although he did play. He pinch ran for Kendrys Morales in the eighth inning, stayed in the game as the designated hitter and was in the on-deck circle for the last out.
Since being recalled from Tacoma on Tuesday, Ackley has not had an at-bat. Nor has he played in the outfield, although that could change as soon as Friday, manager Eric Wedge said.
“We didn’t want to put Ackley out in the field in his first day back from Tacoma. We want him to work out more at the position before he starts a game in the outfield,” Wedge said.
Ackley, a first baseman and outfielder in college for North Carolina, made 12 starts in the outfield (nine in center, three in left) for the Rainiers. He said the transition from second base – where he has made 272 appearances in his three-year career – has gone well.
“I’ve had two weeks in the outfield down there (in Tacoma) and it went better than expected. I first thought that I might be a little bit lost when I first got out there, but the first game felt really good,” Ackley said. “I think the biggest transition was just getting my body used to the running. Other than that, it’s been really great.”
His hitting at Tacoma was pretty great, too. Ackley compiled a .365 batting average, .472 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentages in 104 at-bats. He said that success with the Rainiers has helped rebuild his confidence that was shaken after his past two seasons with the Mariners.
Ackley was hitting .205 at the time of his demotion after hitting .226 in 2012.
“Now when I get up to the plate, I expect to get a hit every time,” Ackley said.
TWO FOR THE FUTURES
Two Rainiers – pitcher Taijuan Walker and shortstop Brad Miller – were selected to take part in the All-Star Futures Game on July 14, two days before baseball’s All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York.
Walker, who compiled a 2.46 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 84 innings at Double-A Jackson, made his Triple-A debut Wednesday, striking out four in six scoreless innings for the Rainiers.
Miller is hiting .350 with five homers and 27 RBI and has a 21-game hitting streak – the longest active streak in the Pacific Coast League.
For the first time, fan balloting will decide the final player to make the roster for the U.S. and World teams.
A Mariners farmhand – first baseman Ji-Man Choi of Double-A Jackson – is vying for the last spot on the World team.
To vote for Choi, go to MLB.com/futuresfinalists and type #VoteChoi in the vote box. Fans must cast their ballots before Sunday.
The Mariners are off Thursday. They begin a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs at Safeco Field on Friday. Hisashi Iwakuma (7-2, 2.26 ERA) is scheduled to start the 7:10 p.m. game against the Cubs’ Travis Wood (5-6, 2.85). The game will be televised by Root Sports and broadcast on 710-AM. blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners