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AquaSox notes: M's new minor league director checks in

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Today's Game
Opponent: Spokane Indians
When: 7:05 p.m.
Where: Everett Memorial Stadium
Radio: KRKO (1380 AM)
Probable starters: Everett right-hander Mayekol Guaipe (0-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. Spokane right-hander Jose Valdespina (0-1, INF)

The head honcho of the Seattle Mariners' minor-league system was in attendance for Wednesday's home opener. And he was just doing the same thing as the fans in the stands: trying to get a first impression of Everett's team.

"I have no idea (about the players), I've never seen them," Chris Gwynn, the Mariners' new director of minor-league operations, said.

"I'm here to welcome them to the Mariner organization, and I'm kind of here just like you, just to see what they can do."

Gwynn was hired last November after his predecessor Pedro Grifol, a former AquaSox manager, decided he wanted to return to managing. Gwynn spent the previous two years as the director of player personnel for the San Diego Padres.

And though Gwynn was getting his first look at Everett's players, there was one player in particular he was curious to see: pitching phenom Victor Sanchez, who started Wednesday. The 17-year-old Venezuelan prodigy allowed one run in six innings in his professional debut last Friday, marking him as one to watch closely.

"I probably want to see how Sanchez throws," Gwynn said. "I know him. He threw the ball well his first start and I want to see what he does. Anything else I see will be kind of gravy."

Seventeen-year-olds are a rare breed in the Northwest League. The last 17-year-old to play for Everett was Felix Hernandez in 2003. But the Mariners deemed Sanchez ready.

"You try and assess these pitchers individually and not necessarily by stereotype or by what you think they can't handle," Gwynn said. "It's not one person, it's a group decision and we think he can handle it. We put him out there and see how he does.

"Hopefully he stays healthy," Gwynn continued. "That's the No. 1 thing. I think all directors would just wish for health, because then you can really assess what you've got."

Gwynn said he plans on seeing at least one more Sox game before leaving town.

New arms added to roster

Everett added three pitchers to its roster Wednesday as right-handers Grady Wood, Matt Vedo and Blake Hauser joined the team.

Wood was Seattle's 10th-round pick in this year's draft out of Western Oregon University. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound native of Eugene, Ore., was 12-0 with a 1.69 ERA this spring as a senior.

Hauser was taken in the 13th round of this year's draft out of Virginia Commonwealth. The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder from Mosely, Virginia, was 5-2 with a 3.03 ERA and 10 saves this spring as a junior.

Vedo was selected in the 24th round this year out of UC Santa Barbara. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound native of Colusa, Calif., went 5-5 with a 4.59 ERA this spring as a junior.

The Sox also had reliever Bobby Shore back. Shore did not travel with the team for the season-opening road trip to Tri-City as he received a brief promotion to Clinton of the mid single-A Midwest League. Shore appeared in one game with the Lumberkings, striking out four in two scoreless innings Sunday.

The additions brought Everett's staff up to 17 pitchers, which is a more typical number for a Northwest League team.
Story tags » AquaSox

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