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Marte's first stint in bigs has been quite a ride

SEATTLE -- Ketel Marte, ranked by as the Mariners' No. 2 prospect, has been in the Major Leagues for less than two weeks, and already there have been quite a few firsts.

There was his Major League hit -- an infield single against the Twins -- as well as his first starts in center field, at second base and at shortstop. And, in the Mariners' 4-2 win over the Rangers on Sunday, he notched his first RBI on a single through the right side to give Seattle its first run of the ballgame.

Marte finished that game with two hits for his second multi-hit game since being called up the Mariners. He is hitting just .233 (7-for-30) and said he is still making adjustments, but that's expected for a player who turned 21 last October.

"It's going to take a lot of hard work," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon after Sunday's game. "He's not the second coming, trust me. It's going to take a lot of hard work, but I think he's up to the task and he'll get it done."

For starters, there is the task of getting used to center field, where Marte logged just six starts at Triple-A Tacoma. It's a position he played only occasionally during the offseasons in the Dominican Republic. On Sunday, in Marte's second start in center field, he lost track of a ball hit his way in particularly bad sun in the seventh inning, allowing Rangers catcher Bobby Wilson to reach second base.

"It's part of the game," Marte said. "If I can't see the ball, there's nothing I can do. I'm trying to get better and make sure we can win."

Marte's speed has helped with getting on base early in his young career, but Major League pitching has also taken some getting used to. "The pitchers are more nasty. It's a little bit different but like I said I'm making adjustments," Marte said. "I'm just happy to make good swings. I can't control where it goes. If I get an infield single, it's OK. That's what I can do, get on base and try to help my team."

Perhaps the biggest adjustment, though, has been calming his nerves as he gets his first taste of Major League action. The stadiums are bigger and there are tens of thousands more fans to process.

Marte said he was "100 percent nervous" for his first few at-bats, but added those emotions are part of the game. Now almost two weeks in, the cage work, stretching and even his pregame music have started to become routine.

"It's what I do every day," Marte said. "Now I feel good, I feel like normal."

Worth noting

• Left-handed relief pitcher Charlie Furbush, who was placed on the disabled list July 9, threw a pain-free 40-pitch bullpen on Monday, his third bullpen of 40 pitches or more since Wednesday. The Mariners will see how Furbush's arm responds before determining a next step.

Andrew Erickson is an associate reporter for
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