TORONTO -- Interim manager Daren Brown has spent 10 years in the Mariners' organization -- four managing Triple-A Tacoma.
He has sent a lot of players to the big leagues over his decade-long tenure, but since taking over Seattle's managerial reins Aug. 9, he has only recently been given the opportunity to give his former Minor League students their first start in the Major Leagues.
On Thursday in Toronto, outifielder Gregg Halman and infielder Matt Mangini were in the Mariners' starting lineup, participating in their first big league ballgame.
Mangini was 1-for-4, collecting his first big league hit off Jays closer Kevin Gregg in the ninth inning, and Halman was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in a 1-0 loss to the Jays.
It was a special moment for Brown, who coached both players just over a month ago in Triple-A.
"A little different but I still have that sense," Brown said. "I don't know if you'd say proud of them, but I think it's from an organizational standpoint, these guys have come through the organization, [and] they've made a lot of stops at different clubs. I think them stepping on a big league field is a testament to a lot of our Minor League coaches that have put a lot of work into these guys -- from Rookie ball to Class A, to Double-A, to Tacoma.
"I know about Tacoma, but I also know there has been a lot of work done to get these guys here. To see them stepping on a big league field and playing their first game, I'm excited to see them. As always, you're hoping that you're putting them in a position that they can have some success today, and that's what I'm looking for from both of them."
Brown had mentioned Wednesday that he would like to give the two rookies time to get acclimated with the club. Albeit quicker than expected, the right scenario presented itself on Thursday.
"The couple of guys in [Justin] Smoak and [Mike] Carp that have been here before, I think that I'm comfortable with throwing them in there the first day," Brown said. "With kids coming here for the first time I think it's important to watch and observe, and go through batting practice the first day. They traveled in here [Wednesday] and took batting practice.
"Some of it is just the way things worked out. You got [Russell] Branyan down, [Franklin Gutierrez] down, two guys we'd like to have in the lineup. They're not an option today, so it gives these guys an opportunity."