The Mariners may have the day off, but manager Don Wakamatsu and Jack Zduriencik are still working as they made some cuts from big league camp, optioning five players, who were all on the 40-man roster.
The major news is that first-round draft pick Dustin Ackley was optioned to Double A West Tenn, joining him will be right-handers Dan Cortes, Anthony Varvaro and Ricky Orta and left-hander Edward Paredes
Outfielder Ezequiel Carrera was optioned to Triple A Tacoma.
This is not really a surprise. Zduriencik hinted that Ackley was ticketed for West Tenn earlier in the year. Now does this mean, he's definitely headed there to start the season? No, obviously things could change. But it seems like a good fit.
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I've watched Ackley work at second base since I've been here, including yesterday's start and I've been impressed. He works extremely hard during drills and seems very open to instruction not just from Mike Brumley, but also guys like Figgins and Chris Woodward.
Perhaps the biggest thing for me is his just the relative ease with which he fields ground balls. He movements aren't choppy, he doesn't charge too quickly out of being anxious, but he doesn't hesitate and get caught on his heels. He moves like an athlete. That's so important in fielding balls cleanly.
"There’s a calmness to his game for a young player," Wakamatsu said the other day. "Even at second base, he isn’t all jittery out there."
His arm is decent. But it's strong enough, and should get stronger.
Also he's so quick and athletic. Like Figgins, he's so fast to cover the bag on force plays and double plays. It allows the fielder a target to throw to, and also by being there and getting your feet set you are able to make the turn so much quicker. This is something that you notice in comparison to Jose Lopez, who is definitely a second or two slower getting there.
Will we see Ackley with the Rainiers? Will see Ackley with the Mariners?
It seems likely that Ackley could move up to Triple A by midseason if he plays well in West Tenn. And I think a September call-up will also be likely.
As for the rest of the guys, I'm surprised Cortes is headed to West Tenn. I thought he was ticketed for Tacoma for sure.