For the 21st time this season, the Mariners made the ultimate dream come true for a baseball player. Whether pitcher or position player, 21 Mariners joined the elite fraternity who can say they have played in the major leagues.
When Justin Dunn, who was called up from the Class AA Texas League’s Arkansas Travelers on Tuesday, stepped on the mound Thursday night, he was No. 20.
Dunn is the 41st pitcher the Mariners have used this season — which broke the single-season MLB record for most pitchers used. Art Warren pitched a third of the eighth inning to make his debut, becoming the 42nd pitcher used.
They brought the Mariners’ total to 67 players used this season, which added to their MLB record of most players used in a single season.
The 21 debuts are not only the most in Mariners history (which previously was 15 in 2004) but the most for any club since 1994.
“It’s weird, but it’s part of the game,” Mariners second baseman Dee Gordon said. “I’ve never seen 20-something people get called up in a year. It’s crazy.”
Dunn, a right-handed pitcher, led the Texas League in wins (nine), strikeouts (158) and WHIP (1.19). In his 25 starts for the Travelers, he put up a 9-5 record with an ERA of 3.55.
Dunn only made it through 2/3 of an inning as he walked five and gave up two runs. Warren gave up a hit and walked a batter but wasn’t charged with a run.
“We have a lot of young players; it’s like I’ve said all along, it’s a chance for these guys to play,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said.
With a constant cycle of new faces in the clubhouse, veteran players such as Gordon and Kyle Seager have made an effort to extend a helping hand to get players adjusted.
“Guys like me and Seager got to make sure we help these young guys get comfortable in the big leagues and try to become someone,” Gordon said. “Just try to talk to them and help them as much as possible. Coach them through it, don’t be too hard on them, but be stern when you need to.”
So what impact do all these young players have on the team and in the clubhouse?
“That’s definitely something we talked about,” Seager said. “It doesn’t matter where we are at in the standings or what our win-loss record is, we’ve got guys that are debuting, we’ve got guys that are young and are just getting here. There’s an excitement level there. There’s a learning level there. Every day will bring something new. Whether you are in it or not, it really doesn’t matter, it’s still exciting and it can be a lot of fun. Certainly a lot of teachable moments.”
Gordon nominated for Clemente Award
Gordon is the Mariners’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award. The annual award goes to an individual who best represents the sport of baseball through philanthropy involvement.
Gordon, the two-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner, is involved with the Seattle community through his Flash of Hope program, which supports families who have been affected by domestic violence.
“It’s an amazing feeling to me,” he said. “I just want to make sure I help people. I think I’m put on this earth, in this position, to help others and I’ll continue to do it. [The nomination] is cool but I don’t really do it for the acclamations, I do it just to help. If I never got an award for it, I’d be fine.”
A Mariner has won the award three times, with the most recent being Edgar Martinez in 2004. The winner will be announced during the World Series.