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Coaches take notice as Peguero finds stride

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- The measurables are there for Carlos Peguero. It's the performance that has been more of an enigma. Peguero, Seattle's massive outfielder, has come into his own in recent seasons and he's causing a stir in Spring Training by leveraging all of his impressive talent.

Peguero, listed at 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, has taken the long route through the Seattle system, signing as a 19-year-old out of the Dominican Republic and slowly progressing through each level. But it's his mastery of Triple-A -- at the advanced age of 25 -- and a hot spring that is earning him notice.

Peguero batted .285 with 21 home runs for Triple-A Tacoma last season, and he's hitting .429 with three home runs this spring. Peguero even made two highlight-reel catches in Friday's game, and manager Eric Wedge said that the youngster is doing his best to make a case to stick with the Mariners.

"There's so much power and athleticism there for a big guy," Wedge said. "He's off to a great start."

Peguero came on as a substitute and scored a run in Seattle's 9-5 victory over the Dodgers Saturday, but the day was mostly a quiet one. Hours before, he spoke about his hot streak and what it could mean for his future, and he lauded Raul Ibanez and Kendrys Morales for being positive role models.

Peguero has gotten his big league chance before, but he's never really produced. The 26-year-old has gotten a look in each of the last two seasons, but he's batted .191 in 212 big league at-bats. This year, for whatever reason, everything is clicking, and Peguero doesn't want to overanalyze it.

"I worked hard in the Dominican this winter, and I played Winter League there too," Peguero said. "I started doing what I'm trying to do here: just being patient at the plate and trying to hit my pitch. Not trying to hit two or three pitches each at-bat, just trying to hit one and make good contact on it."

Peguero said it's been a learning experience just to be in camp with the big league team, and he said his main job is to be patient and consistent, to iron out erratic swings in performance. If he can do that, he said, he'll go a long way toward realizing his potential and cracking the big league barrier.

"I don't think about it," Peguero said. "I want to make the team, because every player's dream is to be in the big leagues and to stay there. I want to make the team and I want to play in the big leagues, but it's not my decision. I just try to improve in the field, and I know exactly what they want from me."

Seattle may get to take a long look at Peguero over the next week or two, because center fielder Michael Saunders is leaving camp to play with Canada in the World Baseball Classic. That move -- and days off for other regulars -- could wind up giving Wedge a chance to play Peguero more regularly.

"We've got competition all over the place," Wedge said Friday on whether Peguero has a shot to break camp with the club. "We're not counting anybody out. We feel we've got 61 players here in camp that are all good enough to be in the big leagues, and you can't say that every year."

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