Marshall Hubbard: Signed, Sealed, and Delivering

InsidethePark.com's Joe Kaiser caught up with Mariners draft pick Marshall Hubbard, who is now playing in Everett after a short stay in the Arizona Rookie League. Hubbard, a University of North Carolina product, began his journey through the M's system last weekend with a big bang.

EVERETT - One game in the desert sun was enough for Marshall Hubbard, the Mariners recent 8th round draft choice out of the University of North Carolina. After signing with Seattle last week, Hubbard appeared in just a single game in the Arizona Rookie League before being called up to Everett Friday night.

"One of the coaches stopped and told me after the game," said Hubbard. "He said you're leaving tomorrow morning at 10 so get packed up."

Since Hubbard was one of the top hitters in all of college this past season, the move was hardly a surprise. The Northwest League's rosters, afterall, are typical filled with recent draftees from the college ranks, players not unlike Hubbard.

An outfielder with the Tar Heels, the line-drive hitter said he thinks he's going to be used in a different role in the M's organization, at least for starters.

"I think I'm slated for first base," said Hubbard, who admits he hasn't played the position since high school almost five years ago. "We have a lot of outfielders who are hitting the ball well, so from what I understand first base is where I'll be playing most of the time."

Hubbard understands that he'll have to put in plenty of extra time to make the transition from outfielder to infielder go smoothly.

"Right now I need to work on my defense on first base, so I need to get better there," he said. "I've been taking a lot of ground balls before games and trying to get readjusted to it.

"There's not much time, but hopefully over the next few weeks I'll get it down."

It isn't defense that Hubbard is known for, though, rather his left-handed bat that pummeled ACC pitching in recent years. It's that bat that showed up in his first start on Sunday, as Hubbard capitalized on a hitter's 2-0 pitch for his first professional homer.

Hubbard turned on the ball, smashing over the short porch in right field at Everett Memorial Stadium.

"I was looking for a fastball and it couldn't have been at a better spot to hit," said Hubbard. "It felt good off the bat. It was good to get that first hit out of the way, and it made it easier to go from there."

Being the newest member of the AquaSox, the 22-year-old says it's easy to fall into the trap of trying to make a big splash on the team and try to do too much. Instead, he says, he's doing all he can to stay within himself an concentrate on hitting the way he has in the past.

"It's just seeing the pitches and driving them," he said. "That's what it's all about. I'm trying to really just hit the pitches where they are pitched.

"The minute you start thinking about (the short fence in right field) you start having a couple 0-4 games and you're in a slump. I'm just up there trying to take what I get."

Out of the 110 degree temperatures of Arizona, Hubbard has enjoyed the more mild climate of the Northwest League since arriving on Saturday afternoon. That, and the AquaSox fans that have welcomed his arrival with open arms.

"It's nice going from Peoria, where you have about six people there, to coming here," he said.

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