Zunino among eight tabbed for Fall League squad

Zunino among eight tabbed for Fall League squad

Zunino among eight tabbed for Fall League squad
MINNEAPOLIS -- Catcher Mike Zunino, the Mariners top pick and No. 3 overall selection in June's First-Year Player Draft, tops a list of eight Seattle Minor Leaguers who were named to the Peoria Javelinas team on Wednesday as Arizona Fall League rosters were announced.

Infielders Nick Franklin, Vinnie Catricala and Stefen Romero, right-handed pitchers Carson Smith and Logan Bawcom and left-handers James Paxton and Bobby LaFromboise were also named to the squad, which will play from Oct. 9 through Nov. 15 in the Phoenix area.

Zunino, one of the nation's premier college players at Florida, has hit .350 with three home runs and five RBIs in his first 11 games for Double-A Jackson after being promoted from Class-A Everett this month.

Franklin, a first-round Draft pick in 2009, played in the AFL last fall as well and was named the MVP of the AFL's Rising Stars Game. He has split this season between Jackson (.322 in 57 games) and Triple-A Tacoma (.241 with seven home runs and 26 RBIs in 58 games).

Paxton, a fourth-round selection in 2010, has gone 8-4 with a 3.05 ERA in 20 starts for Double-A Jackson this season.

Catricala is hitting .227 for Tacoma and Romero is batting .330 for Jackson after hitting .357 in Class-A High Desert.

Bawcom was acquired in the Brandon League trade with the Dodgers and is 5-3 with a 2.47 ERA and 18 saves in Double-A ball this season, including 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA and five saves for Jackson.

LaFromboise is 5-2 with a 1.46 ERA in 25 relief outings for Tacoma after being promoted midseason from Jackson, where he went 1-0 with a 1.01 ERA in 20 appearances. Smith is 5-1 with a 3.02 ERA and 15 saves for High Desert.

Manager Eric Wedge is a big believer in the value of players competing in Fall or Winter ball when it makes sense.

"It is important," he said. "We've got the instructional league starting up here pretty soon, then the Fall League and then a co-op league. So there's an opportunity for a lot of guys to play a little longer. Every situation is different to a man, but it's another start-over for them and they're playing against good competition. It's a very positive thing."