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Originally published Monday, August 13, 2012 at 8:54 PM

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Mariners promote first-round pick Mike Zunino to Class AA Jackson

Mike Zunino, the Mariners' No. 1 draft pick, didn't take long to show that he was too good for the Northwest League. In 29 games with Everett...

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Mike Zunino, the Mariners' No. 1 draft pick, didn't take long to show that he was too good for the Northwest League.

In 29 games with Everett, Zunino hit .373, with 10 home runs (most in the league) and 35 runs batted in. And now the No. 3 overall pick this past June is headed for Class AA Jackson. The Mariners announced the promotion on Monday.

"He's a mature young man, from a major college," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said of Zunino, who starred at the University of Florida. "I think he'll make that transition without any problem."

So far, the transition to pro ball has been seamless for the winner of the 2012 Golden Spikes Award as the top collegiate player. He reached base in 26 of his 29 games with Everett. Zunino had a .474 on-base percentage and .736 slugging percentage, and was a three-time winner of the Northwest League Player of the Week award.

Caudill throws out first pitch

Former Mariners reliever Bill Caudill threw out the ceremonial first pitch as part of the Mariners' ongoing 35th anniversary celebration.

Caudill, known as "Cuffs", was one of the most fun-loving players in Mariners history, known for his elaborate pranks.

"I always believed this, and to this day I believe it: Baseball is a game," Caudill, 56, said before the game. "As a little boy you tried to have fun. As a young man you should have fun, and even as an adult you should have fun. You've got be serious about your work, and dedicated, but if you don't have a little bit of levity, it becomes a grind. If it becomes a grind, your talent doesn't shine. I always tried to keep the grind part out of it."

Caudill, who saved 52 games in 1982 and '83 for the Mariners, was the first client of super-agent Scott Boras, his minor-league teammate. The Kirkland resident works for Boras, assessing amateur talent.

"I know the Mariners have done great things in the draft," he said. "Jack (Zduriencik) and Mac (scouting director Tom McNamara) do a fabulous job. I've been impressed who they've taken. I can't wait for them to win, and I want to be here and be a part of it.."

Notes

• First baseman Mike Carp, who injured his hip Sunday, was out of the lineup as the Mariners awaited results of his MRI exam.

• Wedge said that Franklin Gutierrez, who has still been bothered by headaches in the wake of his concussion on June 29, has "switched up some of his meds. He'll be exercising today, get back to baseball activities tomorrow, and keep progressing from there."

Gutierrez had been scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Sunday with Everett, but more headache issues cropped up, now being attributed to an inner-ear problem rather than the concussion. Whatever the cause, the frustration is mounting regarding Gutierrez, who played 92 games in 2011 but just 13 this year.

• Wedge was saddened by the death of Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky, whom he befriended during his time in the Boston organization. Pesky managed the Seattle Rainiers in 1961-62.

"It's a sad day for baseball, a sad day for the Pesky family, all his family and friends and fans out there," Wedge said. "I knew Johnny from the time I signed in 1989, and I've stayed in touch with him over the years. I've learned a great deal from him, as have so many. It's a sad day, but what a wonderful life he had."

Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or lstone@seattletimes.com.

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