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Maurer soaks up first big league Opening Day

OAKLAND -- Mariners rookie right-hander Brandon Maurer threw a bullpen session prior to Monday's opener at Coliseum and tried not to get caught up in being in a triple-decker stadium preparing for his first Major League season.

Maurer, 22, has never pitched above Double-A but will make his Major League debut on Thursday against the A's.

"It's fun to just kind of look around and say, 'Wow, this is a big league stadium,'" he said with a grin. "It will soak in a little more once they call everyone out on the field and when I can walk into the dugout, then I can give it a nice little look up."

He's taken part in Opening Day ceremonies at other levels of baseball, from Little League in Costa Mesa, Calif., to high school in Villa Park, Calif., to various Minor League venues in his five pro seasons since getting drafted in the 23rd round in 2008.

"It's always nice to go out on the baseball field, but it is a little different here," Maurer said. "It's always cool, but it's not quite big league cool."

On the other end of the scale is Raul Ibanez, who was taking part in his 15th Major League Opening Day and enjoyed seeing Maurer and fellow first-timers Carter Capps and Stephen Pryor.

"I absolutely remember my first," Ibanez said, recalling the Mariners' 1999 opener at the Kingdome. "That's what I really get excited for, guys that it's their first Opening Day and first callups, first base hits, first win.

"I really love seeing guys do well and experiencing things for the first time. It keeps me young, watching them do it, because I remember what it was like all those years ago."

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog.
Read More: Seattle Mariners, Raul Ibanez, Carter Capps, Stephen Pryor, Dustin Ackley, Felix Hernandez, Brendan Ryan, Brandon Maurer