Opponent: Tri-City Dust Devils
When: 7:05 p.m.
Where: Everett Memorial Stadium
Radio: KRKO (1380 AM)
Probable starters: Everett left-hander Steven Ewing (1-1, 4.24 ERA) vs. Tri-City right-hander Ben Hughes (1-2, 3.21)
EVERETT — Seattle Mariners first-round draft pick Mike Zunino is tentatively scheduled to make his professional debut tonight when the AquaSox play host to the Tri-City Dust Devils, Everett manager Rob Mummau said.
Mummau said Zunino, who arrived in Everett on Tuesday night but did not play Wednesday and was not in the starting lineup Thursday, would play tonight barring waking up sore or some other unexpected predicament. Mummau also said it was likely Zunino would serve as the designated hitter instead of playing his natural position at catcher.
Zunino was selected third overall in June out of the University of Florida, where as a junior this spring he batted .322 with 19 home runs and 67 RBI in 66 games. Last week Zunino won the Golden Spikes Award as the top amateur baseball player in the nation.
Kivlehan on fire
It seems Patrick Kivlehan has made the adjustment.
The Sox third baseman has found his groove at the plate the past 10 days. In the previous nine games Kivlehan was 14-for-37 (.378) with four home runs — coming in a pair of two-homer games in a four-day span — and 12 RBI, and he’s the reigning Northwest League Player of the Week.
Prior to the hot streak Kivlehan was batting just .254 with little power, and he was having difficulty making contact.
“I started off the season slow, but it just took me a little while to adjust,” Kivlehan said. “I got my timing down, figured out what I was doing wrong and got back on track.”
Kivlehan’s arc with the Sox mimics his college season at Rutgers. Kivlehan, who was a college football player who didn’t play baseball until this spring after his football eligibility expired, needed an adjustment period in college, too, before taking off.
With the Sox, some of those adjustments have been mechanical.
“We made a little hand adjustment with him a couple weeks ago, he’s loading his back leg a little better and using his lower half, and he’s recognizing pitches better,” Mummau said. “Those are all the things you want in a good hitter.”
Kivlehan’s hot streak catapulted him among the league leaders in several offensive categories. Going into Thursday he was leading the league in slugging percentage at .531, his five homers put him one behind Yakima’s Josh Parr for the league lead, and his 20 RBI was two behind teammate Taylor Ard for the league lead.
There were four former AquaSox who took part in Tuesday’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Only one of those — pitcher Felix Hernandez, who played for the Sox in 2003 — made the team as a Mariner, however. The others were Baltimore center fielder Adam Jones (2003), Cleveland shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera (2004), and Chicago Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair (2003-04).