Liddi looking to find his niche

Liddi looking to find his niche

OAKLAND -- Alex Liddi accomplished one goal last year when he became the first Italian-born-and-raised player to play in the Majors. Now, the 23-year-old checked another box on his bucket list by making the Mariners' 25-man roster when they broke camp this week.

"It's something special, for sure," said Liddi, one of seven rookies on the Mariners roster as they re-opened the season on Friday. "It was a dream come true last year to make my Major League debut and this year to be part of the team right away. It's something to be proud of and a good way to start the season."

Liddi hit .370 with seven doubles, one home run, 11 RBIs and three stolen bases in 18 Cactus League games, and will be a backup at both first and third base to open the year.

"I think I had a pretty good spring," Liddi said. "I was working on making a good impression and being a more complete player, put the ball in play, be able to steal a base, play different positions on the field. That's what I'm trying to do, and it's gone good so far."

Liddi said last year's September callup, when he hit .225 with three home runs in 15 games, helped him feel a little more comfortable as he started the season with the big club. The adjustment will be getting used to a bench role, something he's never dealt with in six seasons in the Minors.

"Of course, it's something new for me," Liddi said. "But the main thing is to put yourself in position to be ready all the time when they need you. Keep working on your stuff every day, even if you're not playing, and just be ready during games to have your chance to go in and do something."