Dustin Ackley knows he isn’t fighting for a job on the Seattle Mariners opening day roster – he’s still trying to figure out just exactly how this second-base gig works.
“I’m playing a new position for the first time and there’s a lot I’m learning involved,” Ackley said Thursday. “I’m trying to learn how my teammates throw to second base – one third baseman’s ball might sail a little, one might cut in – and I have to learn how to take them at second base.
“From Little League through high school and college, I’ve probably played every position on the field except second base. I played first and shortstop and third base and outfield, I’ve pitched and caught. I just never played second base – and I still haven’t in a game
“Getting the footwork and glove work down, I’m learning as I go.
The Mariners couldn’t be happier with his progress and they’ll almost certainly start their top ’09 draft pick in Class AA in April. How long he stays there is anyone’s guess – but it probably won’t be a full season
“I know I’m not ready now. My job is to be ready when an opportunity comes,” he said
Ackley can hit, and the Mariners know it. Once he’s comfortable playing second base, there may well be an opening for him in Seattle. If the Mariners could find a trading partner for Jose Lopez, moving Chone Figgins back to third and putting Ackley at second might improve the defense and the offense.
But that’s a discussion for later his summer, not spring.