Draft pick Littlewood visits Safeco Field

Draft pick Littlewood visits Safeco Field

SEATTLE -- Sitting in the Safeco Field dugout and wearing a Mariners uniform for the first time, Marcus Littlewood didn't talk about grandiose plans for the signing bonus he'll soon receive, although he has a few simple needs.

"Probably a phone," he said with a smile. "I might buy my mom's car. I haven't really thought about it. All the money stuff's over my head right now. All I'm worried about is playing."

The Mariners like that line of thinking, and they like Littlewood, the team's second-round pick (67th overall) from the recent First-Year Player Draft. Littlewood, a switch-hitting middle infielder from Pine View High School in St. George, Utah, toured the stadium, took batting practice and infield practice and said he's ready to get to work.

"It's awesome," said Littlewood, who posed for pictures with several family members who came down for the special day. "Hopefully in a couple years, I'll have the same opportunity."

Littlewood has been taking advantage of opportunities lately. He played for the USA Baseball under-18 national team that went 19-2 and had the best record at the 2010 IBAF Triple-A under-18 Junior World Championships. In 21 games, Littlewood hit .359 with eight doubles, a triple, a home run and 18 RBIs, and he ended the summer with a team-best 11-game hitting streak.

Having come from a baseball family, with his father, Mike, having been a former college baseball player at Brigham Young and a 27th-round Draft pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in 1988, Marcus said he knew what to expect while deciding whether to accept his offer to play for the University of San Diego, where he had signed, or turn pro and head to Seattle.

"It was stressful for about a month up to the [signing] deadline," Marcus said. "It was just such a relief to sign and get it over with. Every single day, I was contemplating both sides, school or pro ball, and I'm happy for the chance to sign. I'm really happy I made that decision."

The Mariners are, too. Former Seattle Minor League coordinator and current coach Pedro Grifol said he liked what he saw from Littlewood on Friday.

"He's a good-looking Draft pick," Grifol said of Littlewood, who is 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds. "A switch-hitting shortstop, good action, just looked like a good baseball player. And now it's about development. Go down there, get your ABs, take your ground balls. Get in game situations, bunting situations, hit-and-runs.

"Do what it takes to develop into a big league baseball player. But you can tell by his demeanor and poise that he's going to be pretty good."

The next step for Littlewood will be instructional league next month, after which he'll head home to work out in the offseason and be ready for Minor League camp at Spring Training in Peoria next February.

Given the fact that the Mariners already changed their first-round pick of last year, Dustin Ackley, from a first baseman to a second baseman, Littlewood said he's not averse to moving around the diamond, although he's currently a shortstop and took ground balls at that position during Friday's brief infield practice.

"If I have to move, that's fine," he said. "I don't have any problem with moving. I've played every infield position, so I feel comfortable at numerous spots."

And as for his physique, Littlewood, all of 18 years old, said he's sure it will change, too.

"I can get a lot stronger," Littlewood said. "I'm sure I will. I have a lot of room to grow."