TAMPA, Fla.- Mariner High School alum Mike Zunino relishes his chance to play in his home state of Florida.
“Something about it always feels like home, no matter where you’re at,” said Zunino.
At just 24-years-old, the Seattle Mariners Catcher already has quite the resume.
He was a high school All-American at Mariner High School in Cape Coral. At the University of Florida, he was an All-American. After being selected third overall by the Seattle Mariners in the 2012 MLB Draft, he went on to set the club record for home runs by a catcher (22) in 2014.
“It’s going well,” said Zunino, “It’s just one of those things where you come to the yard and try to play every day.”
Zunino’s parents, who still live in Cape Coral, were at Tropicana Field to watch their son hit a towering home run in Monday’s game in Tampa.
“It’s always nice to have family and friends here to see you get a hit, and especially a home run,” said Zunino.
Zunino made his major-league debut at just 22 years old, and already has almost three seasons of MLB experience.
“I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is how to develop relationships, and knowing how those guys pitch, how to develop their trust, and usually that leads to a good pitching staff.”
Zunino catches for one of the best pitchers in the league, five-time All-Star and Cy-Young winner Felix Hernandez.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Zunino. “Especially when you can catch guys like King Felix every five days.”
When Zunino is back in Florida, he says he feels like a kid again.
His advice for young baseball players in Southwest Florida?
“Just continue at it,” said Zunino. “Work hard, enjoy the game, and enjoy the process. With hard work, a lot of things can happen.”