Mariners' Peguero Off To Hot Start In Double-A





SEATTLE — The Mariners have waited for outfielder Carlos Peguero to find himself, and in his Double-A debut this season it looks like he is on the way.

"We've waited for him to take the bull by the horns and he's done that," farm director Pedro Grifol said. "We've always known he's had the talent, and now it's coming out."

Peguero, 23, was batting .342/.430/.684 in 117 at-bats with West Tenn, including 11 home runs.

It's not like he hasn't put up big numbers before this. In his second season at high Class A High Desert last year, Peguero hit 31 homers and drove in 98, though he also struck out 172 times.

"There are not many 23-year-olds who have his kind of power, line to line,'' Grifol said. "He's probably got the most power of anyone in our organization, and he's got power that is the equal of just about anybody in the minor leagues today."

For an organization as power-stricken as the Mariners, seeing someone consistently hit the long ball is a welcome sight indeed. But Peguero will still have to prove he can do it over a longer stretch of time and prove that he can play big league defense, too.

"If he shows he can keep the length of the slumps to a minimum, he's got a chance to move up through the system pretty quickly," Grifol said. "And on defense, he's got a great arm and really good range, much better than you might guess from looking at him, because he's big. But he has very good speed. He's really got a chance to be an impact player for us.''

MARINADE

• Righthander Michael Pineda, who opened eyes in major league spring training, may be looking at an early promotion to Triple-A Tacoma. In his first six starts for West Tenn, he was 2-0, 2.23 with a 40-9 strikeout-walk ratio in 32 innings.

• Low Class A Clinton lefthander Antony Vasquez didn't have a gaudy record (2-2), but he was pitching lights-out and had a 0.84 ERA after seven starts, with 37 strikeouts and five walks in 43 innings.