McClendon: Zunino will be All-Star in ‘very near future’

Zunino, Mike-STMike Zunino got the day off Tuesday as he rides an 0-for-14 streak at the plate, but the young catcher will be back in the lineup for Wednesday’s series finale against A’s left-hander Jon Lester and manager Lloyd McClendon continues expressing full confidence in the 23-year-old.

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“Mike’s slugging percentage and performance against left-handers is better, so I’ll rest him [Tuesday] and get him back in there,” McClendon said after opting for Jesus Sucre in the middle game of the series.

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Zunino’s batting average has dropped to .201, but he’s second on the club with 19 home runs, has 48 RBIs in 108 games and continues to solidify the Mariners play behind the plate.

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“Mike Zunino is going to be an All-Star catcher in the very near future,” McClendon said. “From an offensive standpoint, we’re dealing with a young man in his second year in the big leagues. He’s got more at-bats in the big leagues than the minor leagues. That should tell you where he is. It’s almost unthinkable he could be in the big leagues after 300 Minor League at-bats.

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“Is he going to struggle a little bit? Yeah. Are there going to be growing pains? Absolutely. Are there going to be times you wonder if he’s ever going to get a hit again? Yeah. He also has more home runs than any catcher in the American League. So he’s doing a few things right.”

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