PEORIA, Ariz. -- Rookie Mike Zunino has a lot to learn at his first Major League camp, but the Mariners first-round Draft pick from last June is soaking things up as quickly as possible, and has fit in well in the opening days of Spring Training.
"It's a blast," the 21-year-old said. "There's a bunch of great guys here. We've been doing everything to get back into shape, and I've been having a great time. I spend a lot of time with the catchers and [catching coordinator Jeff] Datz and all those guys. I'm just having fun with them and getting to know the pitchers. It's been great."
Zunino has displayed impressive power in early batting practice sessions, but his biggest goal has been getting familiar with the 30 pitchers in camp.
"Mentally, the relationship with them takes time," he said. "But to catch all the guys as much as I can, just to have that in your memory bank, is all I'm trying to do right now."
Fellow rookie catcher John Hicks, a fourth-round selection in the 2011 Draft out of Virginia, has also shown well. The Mariners love Hicks' athleticism, and manager Eric Wedge noted he'd thrown out more than 50 percent of base stealers in his first two seasons in the Minor League system at Class A Clinton and High Desert.
"His athleticism shines through as far as I'm concerned, just the way he moves, the way his body works, the way he runs," Wedge said. "As I mentioned yesterday, I'm very impressed with our crew of catchers. And not just behind the plate. You have to appreciate the way they swing the bat, too."