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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

June 6, 2011 at 6:09 PM

Quotes from Mariners draft pick Danny Hultzen

When Danny Hultzen was interviewed on the MLB Network immediately after being draft, he seemed shell-shocked. In fact, he told the media in Virginia a little while later, “I was completely and utterly shocked that I was picked that soon. I had an idea that I may be picked somewhere in the top part of the draft, but never would I have thought I would be No. 2. It is an incredible feeling.”

Hultzen just completed a conference call with the Seattle media, and he’s beginning to come to grips with his status as the No. 2 pick in the draft. He came across as very articulate and personable. Here are some quotes from the conference call:

“This is an unbelievable experience. I’m looking forward to the opportunity. I was very surprised to be picked like that, but I’m very, very excited for the opportunity and I thank the Seattle Mariners for giving me this opportunity.”

Where saw self going:” I really didn’t have any expectations. I wasn’t looking for a specific spot, I wasn’t looking for a specific team or anything like that. But I’ll tell you this: I wasn’t looking that high. That was where all the surprise came from, being picked that high.”

What he knows about Mariners: “I’m very excited. It’s a great organization. I think the first major-league hat I ever got was a Seattle Mariners hat. I remember watching Ken Griffey Jr. playing when I was growing up, and guys like Jay Buhner and Randy Johnson, all those guys. So I’m very excited to be part of that organization.”

Sounds like you were a fan: “I wouldn’t call myself a fan, but I was well aware of them. Griffey was my guy growing up. I think that’s where the hat came from.”

On possibly meeting Griffey: “That would be unbelievable. He was a childhood hero of mine. I loved watching him play, and like millions of other kids, I tried to copy his swing and the way he played outfield. That would be an unbelievable experience to get to meet him.”

On turning down a chance to go pro out of high school: “Coming out of high school, I was very, very set on going to college. I felt that was very important. I knew that was going to be the right decision. I would be saying the same thing even if I wasn’t so successful. I learned so much, not only about baseball, but also about being a man, growing up, things like that that have helped me mature both on and off the field. That was definitely a huge difference coming out of high school to now.”

Competition in the ACC: “It’s unbelievable. Every day you face some of the best hitters in the country. Just thinking about it, guys in the Mariner organization I played against, like Dustin Ackley and Kyle Seager, that just shows the caliber I’ll potentially be playing against at the next level. I think it’s helped a tremendous amount to be facing that caliber hitter almost every week you go out there.

How fared against Ackley and Seager: “I think I walked Ackley a couple of times, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t get a hit off me. I might have walked them a couple of times, but I don’t think they got any hits.”

On his timetable to the major leagues: “That really hasn’t even crossed my mind yet. That’s for down the road. I’m 100 percent focused on helping my team win games, and all that stuff will be worked out later. My family and I will talk about all that stuff, and it will be taken care of at a different time.”

Scouting report on self: “I’m a left-handed pitcher that just goes out there and competes no matter what, no matter who I’m facing. I throw a fastball, changeup, slider. I just go after and try to attack the hitter, no matter who you’re facing. I try to let the hitter beat me and not beat myself by falling behind in the count or putting runners on base. I’m a competitive guy and I’ll go out and compete for whatever team I’m playing for.”

On where that competitive attitude came from: “I think it all starts with my father. He used to say, ‘Anything worth doing is worth doing well.’ I’ve taken that to everything I’ve done, both on and off the field. When it comes to baseball, if you’re going to do something, you’d better work hard at it and give it your all. Going further than that, that’s the kind of mentality the coaches preach here at Virginia. That’s helped us succeed.”

You’ve been a good hitter; will it be weird to go to AL and not hit: “Hopefully one day if I’m lucky enough to make the major leagues, I’ll get to look forward to laying down a bunt in an interleague game. I’ll look forward to that, definitely.”

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