By Kirby Arnold
The Mariners have made their assignments to the Arizona Fall League, and there will be seven – including second baseman Dustin Ackley and right-handed reliever Josh Fields – who’ll play for the Peoria Javelinas.
Others from the Mariners’ minor league system who’ll play for the Javelinas will be right-handed pitchers Josh Lueke, Dan Cortes and Maikel Cleto, and corner infielders Matt Mangini and Nate Tenbrink.
Ackley, the second overall pick in the 2009 draft, will continue his transition to second base in his second straight year in the fall league. Last year with the Javelinas, Ackley batted .315 with one home run and 20 RBI in 20 games. He started 17 games in center field but, soon after the fall league had ended, the Mariners announced they would shift him to second base.
Ackley is batting .289 with a .372 on-base percentage, .464 slugging percentage and .836 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 97 at-bats since being promoted to Class AAA Tacoma from Class AA West Tennessee. He has two home runs and 10 RBI.
Fields, the Mariners’ first-round pick in 2008, also returns to the fall league for a second straight year. He has been on the disabled list since mid-June because of a sore right forearm but, according to the Mariners, has been making steady progress in his recovery. Until the injury, Fields was 1-1, 3.14 in 21 games with six saves and 28 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings with West Tennessee.
The Mariners acquired Lueke last month from the Rangers in the Cliff Lee trade. He has a 1.59 ERA and one save in four relief appearances with Tacoma and was 1-0, 0.00 in six games at West Tennessee, where he struck out 14 in 7 1/3 innings.
Cortes, acquired last year from the Royals in the Yuniesky Betancourt trade, is 6-4, 5.27 at West Tennessee but, in nine games since being converted to a late-inning reliever, is 1-0, 0.71 with 20 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings. His fastball has reached 102 mph, Mariners minor league director Pedro Grifol said.
Cleto is 3-6, 5.54 in 18 games (16 starts) this season at Class A High Desert.
Mangini has 13 home runs and 49 RBI at Tacoma and is batting .288/.337/.501/.838. Despite his productive bat, the Mariners want to see improvement from Mangini in the field and, despite coming up as a third baseman, may see more time at first base.
Tenbrink, a third baseman, is batting .275/.383/.425/.808 with four home runs and 22 RBI at West Tennessee. In 44 games at Class A High Desert, he batted .377/449/.646/.1.095 with nine homers and 42 RBI.
The Arizona Fall League runs from Oct. 12-Nov. 20 and features six teams comprised of top prospects from all 30 major league organizations. The Peoria Javelinas’ roster will be a collection of players from the Mariners, Red Sox, Indians, Astros and Blue Jays organizations. They play their home games at Peoria Stadium, the Mariners’ spring training home.