The new left fielder of the future, 22-year-old Michael Saunders, was in the Seattle Mariners lineup today - and the expense of the former left fielder of the future, Wladimir Balentien.
Saunders was recalled from Tacoma to make his big-league debut today, adding a bat with power potential to a batting order lacking it.
To make room for him on the 25-man roster, the Mariners designated Balentien for assignment, meaning they must trade, release or offer him the opportunity to play in the minors.
Saunders, a 6-foot-4, 210 pound left-handed hitter, batted .310 in 64 games with Tacoma this season, with 13 home runs and 32 RBI as he came back from 2008 shoulder surgery.
Balentien, a right-handed batter, hit .213 in 56 games with Seattle this year, hitting four home run and driving in 13. Once considered as good a young player as Adam Jones, the 25-year-old Balentien never blossomed in the big leagues and lost his starting job last month.
"I heard about all this last night about 11:30, and I didn't sleep a wink all night," Saunders said. "My family was already here to watch me play in Tacoma - my mom, dad and some friends - so they're coming here to watch me play now."
Penciled into the lineup, Saunders will play regularly, manager Don Wakamatsu said.
"I'll pick and choose a few spots, but he's here to play," Wakamatsu said. "The two questions you always ask about young players is, one, can he help you and, two, is he ready? We think he's ready. We'll find out about the first part."