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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Gators in the MLB: Zunino has historic month in Seattle, Tebow and Puk called up

<p>Mike Zunino smacks a three-run home run during the Seattle Mariners 10-5 win against the Houston Astros on Sept. 19, 2014.</p>

Mike Zunino smacks a three-run home run during the Seattle Mariners 10-5 win against the Houston Astros on Sept. 19, 2014.

Former Gator and current Seattle Mariners catcher Mike Zunino has had a month to remember.

Since his call-up from the minors in late May, Zunino’s production at the plate has improved drastically. Since June 1, he has hit 30 RBIs and 10 home runs and is batting .319.

Zunino hasn’t had it easy with the Mariners since he was drafted third overall in the 2012 MLB Draft. Despite rising through the minors and making his major league debut on June 12, 2013, the Cape Coral native has struggled getting used to the big leagues.

A broken hand sidelined him early in his rookie season, and a .199 batting average in 2014 prompted the Mariners to send Zunino back to their Triple A affiliate, the Tacoma Rainiers. He alternated back and forth from Triple A to the majors for the next few seasons, but now seems to be doing pretty well if this last month is any indicator.

Tebow and Puk get promoted

Two former Gators were recently called up to the next level in their minor league systems.

Tim Tebow, who played for the New York Mets’ Class A affiliate, the Columbia Fireflies, was recently promoted to the Class A-advanced St. Lucie Mets and smacked a home run on Wednesday.

Tebow hit .220 in his time in Columbia with 47 hits over 64 games, three home runs and 23 RBIs. In his last 10 games, the former Gators quarterback has seven hits and five RBIs, but struck out 10 times.

He’s not the only one moving up.

Former Florida pitcher AJ Puk is heading to the Midland Rockhounds, the Double A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, where he joins former teammate Richie Martin.

Under the Stockton Ports, the A’s Class A-advanced affiliate, Puk was 4-5, including going 3-1 in his last five starts in Single A-advanced. In 14 games, 11 of which were starts, the sixth overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft had a 3.69 ERA over 61 innings pitched with 44 hits allowed and 98 strikeouts.

But in his first two starts as a Rockhound, Puk has struggled.

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He’s lost his first two games and has an 8.59 ERA. 

The rest of the best

Peter Alonso has been playing well for the St. Lucie Mets since he returned from the seven-day disabled list in late May. In his last 10 games, the Tampa native is hitting .405 with 15 hits, 14 RBIs and three home runs.

On the season, Alonso hasn’t been hitting well with a .234 batting average. But with his recent turn-around, he could finish the season strong.

Someone who hasn’t been doing well, though, is Richie Martin.

He’s hitting .219 on the year with 39 hits and 11 RBIs. And the last ten games haven’t looked so good either.

In that span, he’s batting .097 with just three hits and one RBI.

Former Gators’ Friday night starter Logan Shore has been put on the seven-day disabled list, and hasn’t seen the field since.

Before his injury, Shore was 1-3 for the Stockton Ports with a 3.12 ERA, allowing 33 hits over 34.2 innings pitched and striking out 32 batters.

Shaun Anderson, the former closer for the Gators, has been a solid pitcher for the Salem Red Sox, the Class A-advanced affiliate for Boston.

He’s 1-1 in six starts for Salem this year and boasts a 4.59 ERA. In 33.1 innings pitched, Anderson has allowed 29 hits and has struck out 21 batters.

Contact Jake Dreilinger at and follow him on Twitter @DreilingerJake.

Mike Zunino smacks a three-run home run during the Seattle Mariners 10-5 win against the Houston Astros on Sept. 19, 2014.

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