BY Todd Dybas 04:58PM 04/20/2011

Peguero’s plate debut a bumpy one

Mariners give the youngster a start in left field and he struggles during his first day with his name on the lineup card.

Carlos Peguero had a tough time in his Major League debut. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Nothing more indicative of sudden change and temporary status than your name scribbled on a slab of whiteboard over your locker and next to one marked, “Lost and Found.”

That was the case for Mariners prospect Carlos Peguero who spent Wednesday afternoon making his first start in the Major Leagues. It did not go well.

Peguero had a chance to bolster the legend that follows him for hitting a batting practice pitch just short of the moon in late March. It landed beyond the batter’s eye in center field at Safeco Field. Prodigious.

Wednesday was not batting practice. Peguero went 0-for-4 and struck out three times, including in his final at-bat with the possible tying run on second base, during the Mariners’ 3-2 loss to Detroit.

He was capable in limited and unchallenging chances in left, catching a fly ball in the second for his first putout.

If anything, Peguero is here to hit. He’s 6 foot 5 and listed around 250 pounds, only making that mark after the Mariners compelled him to shave weight during and after spring training. The majority of his weight appears to be situated in his shoulders and upper back, hence the menacing swings.

He faced right-handed sinkerballer Rick Porcello three times. Peguero dug in with his left foot, tapped the plate twice with his bat and took his first pitch, a fastball, low, at 1:21 p.m.

Here’s each at-bat:

First at-bat vs. Porcello, third inning, leading off
1st pitch: 89-MPH fastball Peguero takes low. 1-0
2nd pitch: 88-MPH fastball that the left-handed Peguero gets a good chunk of and drives to left for a flyout.

Peguero didn’t miss it by much and was happy to see consecutive fastballs. “I hit it good,” he said.

Second at-bat vs. Porcello, fourth inning, two outs, runners on first and second
1st pitch: 81-MPH changeup Peguero takes low. 1-0
2nd pitch: 80-MPH changeup, swinging strike. 1-1
3rd pitch: 92-MPH fastball, take, 2-1
4th pitch: 81-MPH changeup, swinging strike, 2-2
5th pitch: 92-MPH fastball, swinging strike, K

Porcello now has Peguero rocking back-and-forth in the box. Both off-speed pitches ate him up.

“The second AB he struck me out with (a) changeup and the third AB he’s going to try to do the same,” Peguero said.

Third at-bat vs. Porcello, seventh inning, one out, runner eventually on third
1st pitch: 88-MPH fastball, called strike, 0-1
2nd pitch: 90-MPH fastball, ball, 1-1
3rd pitch: 81-MPH changeup, ball low, 2-1
4th pitch: 81-MPH changeup, swinging strike, 2-2
5th pitch: 92-MPH fastball, foul, 2-2
6th pitch: 81-MPH changeup, in the dirt, 3-2
7th pitch: 80-MPH changeup, down and in, swinging strike

Peguero was eventually right about his changeup prediction. He just couldn’t handle it.

“I need to make an adjustment and be patient at home plate,” Peguero said.

Fourth at-bat vs. Jose Valverde, ninth inning, two out, runner on second, 3-2 Detroit
1st pitch: 95-MPH fastball, fouled back, 0-1
2nd pitch: 86-MPH splitter, inside, 1-1
3rd pitch: 96-MPH fastball, swinging strike, 1-2
4th pitch: 96-MPH fastball, swinging strike, K

Making the final out of the day with the tying run in scoring position was a tough end for Peguero’s debut.

“That’s going to happen,” Peguero said. “It’s part of the game. Sometimes you go out there and go 0-for-4.”

A silly postgame query came to him, “Your skipper said to have fun today. Did you have fun?”

Peguero paused.

“Uh … at the beginning of the game, yeah. We lose. Not anybody have fun with that,” Peguero, a native of the Dominican Republic, said in his developing English.

He’s learning already.


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