#Hot Corner

Mike Zunino & Irrational Exuberance

Christian Petersen

A long time ago, I saw a cartoon that's stuck with me ever since.

A strapping young fellow, with a wistful look on his face, is sitting down and writing a letter. At his feet, a small satchel with a baseball bat poking out. The cartoonist, helpfully enough, has provided a bubble enlarging what our strapping fellow has written ... Dear Ma and Pa - Will be home soon. Today they started throwing curves.

I thought of this cartoon again last Friday night, when I saw Mike Zunino playing for the Tacoma Rainiers.

Less than two weeks ago, I noticed that a) Zunino, the Mariners' first-round draft pick last June, was tearing up the Pacific Coast League, and b) Jesus Montero, the Mariners' No. 1 catcher, was struggling in the American League.

Ergo, why not a presto change-o?

Montero's still struggling. Struggling badly. So, no change there.

There has been a change, though: Pacific Coast League pitchers started throwing curves to Mike Zunino.

In the Rainiers' recent six-game home stand, Zunino went 0 for 20 and struck out 10 times. When I saw him Friday, he struck out three times and didn't look real smooth behind the plate, either. A bit more Triple-A time probably won't hurt him, and anyway it's not like the M's are on the fast track to October glories.

Now, it's possible that I suggested with some confidence, based on the first week of play, that Mike Zunino was ready for the majors. If so, please chalk that up to youthful exuberance.

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