SEATTLE -- When the Mariners called up Mike Zunino barely a year after taking the catcher with the second-overall pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, they raised a few eyebrows. But he has proven to be ready for the rigors of being an everyday starter in the Major Leagues, rapidly improving both offensively and defensively.
During Seattle's current homestand the youngster is 6-of-16 at the plate, and has earned praise for his ability to handle Seattle's pitching staff and for his defenss. On Friday, he threw out the speedy Mike Trout as he attempted to steal second base. It was the fourth time Trout has been caught in 25 attempts this season.
"I knew my main goal was to catch the pitching staff, and right now I feel like I'm at the point where I'm comfortable with them and continuing to learn about them," Zunino said. "At the plate, I'm just trying to go have quality at-bats."
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Zunino's rise is the way he's been able to handle the wear and tear of catching every day at the Major League level.
"I don't think [our former catchers] were conditioned like Michael is," manager Eric Wedge said. "That's the thing. They weren't conditioned to play every day and he is."
Jacob Thorpe is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.