At 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds, Carlos Peguero is about as large as he plans on getting, which doesn’t mean he’s through growing.
“Winter ball in the Dominican, that’s a tough league. You get major league pitchers, AA pitchers, guys that throw hard, guys that change speeds a lot,” Peguero said.
“I grew up as a player there this winter.”
Peguero is unique as a hitter, a man with awesome power, piles of strikeouts and the kind of potential an organization rarely gives up on.
As a Tacoma Rainier last season, Peguero hit .317with 13 home runs in 57 games. In 46 games with Seattle, he batted .197 with six home runs in 46 games.
Big-league pitchers struck him out 54 times in 143 at-bats.
“His swing is a little too violent at times, but if we can get him to make more contact …” manager Eric Wedge said last season.
This spring, Peguero is hitting .375 and, even better for the Mariners, sounding as if he understands hitting.
“Trying to make more contact, I try to be early seeing the pitch, then making contact with it, not trying to do too much with it,” Peguero said.
“I’ve made that part of my routine in batting practice, to make contact and hit line drives. Then in the game I try to stay with the same swing, the same thinking.
“I have enough power that when I hit a ball good, it’s going to go. I don’t need to try and hit it harder,” Peguero said.
That doesn’t mean Peguero won’t strike out. On Thursday, for instance, he went 2-for-5 against the Chicago Cubs – two hard-hit singles, two strikeouts.
The Mariners, like most teams, can live with strikeouts from productive hitters.
“When you have something bad in your game, you stay with what’s good and work on what’s bad,” Peguero said. “You can’t ignore what you do well to improve.
“The big difference for me was seeing the same pitch pattern too many times. I had to make adjustments. I had to remember what they threw me before, the location of the pitch they threw.
“This spring, it’s like ‘I know I can do it,’ not ‘I have to do it, I have to do it!’ gfhat’s a big difference, because there’s enough pressure in the game without putting your own on yourself,” Peguero said.
With 65 players – 34 of them pitchers – still in camp, the Mariners still need more innings than any one game can give them.
So, after playing 18 innings Thursday, they’ll play one game today and two on Saturday, finding 18 more innings for pitchers. Manager Eric Wedge and pitching coach Carl Willis have seen every inning of every game, so far.
“I want to get everybody in at least one game, hopefully more,” Willis said. “I don’t want to call anyone into Eric’s office and cut them without having seen them pitch. I was that guy a few times.”