Zunino proving adept at getting plunked

Zunino proving adept at getting plunked

PHILADELPHIA -- Mike Zunino goes up to the plate looking for hits, not looking to get hit. But that hasn't stopped the Mariners' catcher from getting plunked 14 times this season, the most in the American League entering Wednesday.

"I lead in something, right?" Zunino said with a smile after getting hit by A.J. Burnett of the Phillies in the sixth inning of Tuesday's 5-2 win.

Zunino also leads the AL in home runs by a catcher with 18, so he's dished out some pain to opposing pitchers as well.

With a .210 batting average, the 23-year-old will take getting on base any way possible, but he certainly wasn't looking for a free pass against Burnett.

"I must lead [the league] in the ones where I can't get out of the way, because that one was coming right at me," said Zunino. "I feel any way I moved on that one, it was going to get me. The last place I want to get hit is the ribs, so I'll take one in the arm.

"What can you do? I'm the ugly finder, I guess."

Zunino has reached base more via being hit than being walked (13) in his first 101 games this season. The Mariners' season record for hit by pitches is 19, set by Jose Guillen in 2007.

Jon Jay of the Cardinals was leading the Majors going into Wednesday's games after getting hit for the 15th time on Tuesday. Starling Marte of the Pirates has also been plunked 14 times. Shin-Soo Choo of the Rangers is second to Zunino in the AL with 12.

The Major League single-season record for most times hit by a pitch is 51 by Hughie Jennings of the Orioles in 1896. The modern record is 50 by Ron Hunt of the Giants in 1971.

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.