Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ackley Getting Intensive Instruction at Second Base

The calendar has turned the dial, and now that 2010 is upon us, it is not long before Spring Training will also be upon us.  The Mariners are confident in the defensive ability of top draft choice Dustin Ackley at pretty much any of the outfield positions, but as it happens, the M’s have a pretty solid outfield in place and signed through the next few seasons.  With recently acquired Milton Bradley – who could anchor an offense if he’s feeling the love – in left, Franklin Gutierrez in center, Ichiro in right, and capable backups in highly-scouted and touted Michael Saunders, Ryan Langerhans and even Ken Griffey, Jr. all on the outfield depth chart.

So, what may be the quickest path to the Bigs for Ackley?  Well, although the M’s are mostly happy with Jose Lopez offensively (though there are some issues in some situations there), he simply doesn’t have the range and defensive ability they are building the  team around.  He’s listed as backup at first base to newly signed Kotchman, and the addition of Chone Figgins should end any thought of playing him at third – though I doubt there was much thought of it in the organization.  Jack Hannihan is a capable defensive utility player.  Which leaves us with a young man who looks ready to hit in the Bigs, but needs a place to play.  And so we find Dustin Ackley working out daily with the Mariners infield coordinator, learning  and getting reps at second base.

I don’t know that it means they will ultimately move him to second, but it will be interesting to see how he does there in Spring Training.  And Lopez is only signed through this season…

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Sunshine on Discovery Bay

Sunshine on Discovery Bay
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