By Kirby Arnold
POSTGAME UPDATE: Dustin Ackley finished 1-for-4, following his first-inning homer with a third-inning walk, a sixth-inning ground out to shortstop and ground outs to second base in the seventh and ninth.
Third baseman Nate Tenbrink went 0-for-4 with three fly outs and a ground out. And right-hander Josh Lueke pitched a 1-2-3 top of the ninth, getting two ground balls and a strikeout.
Peoria fell behind 5-1 early before coming back to lose 8-6. The Javelinas play at Surprise on Wednesday afternoon.
The Mariners want second base prospect Dustin Ackley to use his speed and steal more bases, beginning with his play in the Arizona Fall League the next five weeks. Darn if he didn’t undermine that plan from the get-go today in the Peoria Javelinas’ opening game in the Arizona Fall League.
Ackley, who got a couple of weeks off after the Tacoma Rainiers’ season, homered in his first at-bat, a solo drive to right field with two out in the bottom of the first against Surprise right-hander Brooks Brown at Peoria Stadium.
The Mariners say Ackley’s strength has improved during his first minor league season, so is this homer proof of that? Maybe, although remember that this is Arizona and the first-pitch temperature was 89, headed toward the mid to upper 90s. The ball carries well in the warm, dry air.
We’ll file another report after the game with not only details on Ackley’s day, but also other Mariners prospects involved. Nate Tenbrink, who played at Class A High Desert and Class AA West Tennessee, started at third base and flied out in his first at-bat.
Until it’s over, here is my story on Ackley that will run in The Herald’s sports section on Wednesday and now appears online.