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Zunino's patience starting to pay off

Zunino's patience starting to pay off

Zunino's patience starting to pay off

HOUSTON -- Mike Zunino's primary responsibility as a rookie catcher is working with Mariners pitchers. But he also takes pride in working opposing pitchers, and he did so in grand fashion Friday when he forced three walks and scored three runs in Seattle's 10-7 victory over the Astros.

Zunino had walked just four times in his first 24 games in the Majors, but he nearly doubled that in three straight at-bats on Friday.

"You've just got to be patient and pick the pitches you want to look for and stick with that," said the 23-year-old from Florida. "Obviously, it's easy to get too aggressive, but you just have to stick to your approach and wait for that one pitch."

Zunino has been seeing a lot of off-speed offerings, particularly with two strikes, but is learning to lay off those pitches when possible.

"For the past week or so, that's what I've seen mostly," he said. "So I've got to still hunt the fastball, but hopefully see breaking balls up in the zone and be able to hit them to right field.

"It's one of those things where obviously scouting reports get out and guys spend a lot of time on that. But I need to make the adjustment, too. I'm sort of being patient early in the count and working myself into hitter's counts."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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