Hulett makes debut as Mariners' DH
A lifetime of hard work finally realized on Saturday night
KANSAS CITY -- Tug Hulett received the best news of his life earlier this week in a Salt Lake City hotel room.
The phone rang late that Wednesday night, and he found out he was going to join the Mariners. Hulett immediately called his brothers, not worried that he might wake them up.
Three days later, Hulett got even more good news. He showed up on Saturday before the game and saw his name on the lineup card. Hulett made his Major League debut on Saturday night as Seattle's designated hitter.
When the left-handed hitter saw his name, his thoughts turned to all the hours he'd spent in the batting cage and how his whole life had been devoted to baseball.
"I've been wanting to be here for a long time," Hulett said. "It's been a long wait, but it's been worth it. I'll tell you that much."
Hulett hit .302 with 32 RBIs in 71 games for Triple-A Tacoma. His biggest weakness seems to be left-handed pitchers. He's hitting just .098 against them and .339 against right-handers.
Perhaps one of the more intriguing stats for Hulett is his home run total. He has only nine on the season, but seven in the last 24 games in the Minors. Seattle's offense has been weak all year, and especially in recent games. Hulett isn't promising he can bring some pop, but he's hoping he can.
"We'll see how that goes," Hulett said. "I was feeling comfortable, in a groove a little bit down there, so I was starting to learn the league a little bit. Just staying comfortable, that makes a big difference. Just staying aggressive in the zone. Wherever the ball goes after it leaves my bat, I don't have any control over it."
On Saturday, Hulett will have to get his hits from the DH spot rather than as a shortstop or second baseman, his usual positions. Manager Jim Riggleman acknowledged that the 5-foot-10-inch Hulett isn't exactly the prototypical DH, but he said that's how Hulett fit into the lineup for Saturday. If Riggleman likes what he sees, he said Hulett could play second base on Sunday.
That would be even more good news for Hulett, who's had plenty of it over the past few days.
Mark Dent is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.