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Mariners Name Rich Poythress Minor League Player Of The Year; Michael Pineda Named Pitcher Of The Ye

September 18, 2010 - Southern League (SL) Jackson Generals

SEATTLE, Wash. -- Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik and Director of Player Development Pedro Grifol announced today the Mariners Minor League Players of the Year and Player Development Staff of the Year awards.

First baseman Rich Poythress (High Desert) was named Player of the Year, while right-hander Michael Pineda (West Tenn/Tacoma) was named the Pitcher of the Year. Minor league hitting coordinator, Tacoma hitting coach and interim Tacoma manager Jose Castro was named the Player Development Staff Member of the Year.

Poythress, 23, led all minor leaguers with 130 RBI, averaging 1.06 RBI per game. He hit .315 (150x476) with 33 doubles and 31 home runs in 123 games for High Desert. Among California League leaders, he ranked 1st in RBI, 2nd in slugging percentage (.580), 3rd in home runs, and T9th in batting average. The Mariners 2nd-round selection in the 2009 June draft became the first minor leaguer to record 130 RBI in a season since former Mariner farmhand Juan Silvestre had 137 for Lancaster in 2000. The former University of Georgia star had more home runs and RBI on the road (17 HR, 66 RBI) than at home (14 HR, 64 RBI).

"Rich had a remarkable season leading the minors in RBI," said Grifol. "He was consistent throughout the season on the road and at home. He put together an impressive season and we are very excited about his future in our organization,"

Pineda, 21, went 11-4 with a 3.36 ERA (52 ER, 139.1 IP) in 25 starts combined between AA West Tenn (8-1, 2.22) and AAA Tacoma (3-3, 4.76). He was a finalist for the USA Today Minor League Player of the Year, winning the fan vote portion of the award. He led all Mariners minor leaguers with 154 strikeouts (9.95 K/9.0 IP), including four games with 10-or-more strikeouts. He was named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week after going 1-0 with 21 strikeouts over a 2-start stretch, June 28-July 4. Pineda started the year with AA West Tenn, going 8-1 with a 2.22 ERA (19 ER, 77.0 IP) in 13 starts. He was selected by Baseball America as the Southern League's top pitching prospect in an annual survey taken by league managers.

"Michael had a breakthrough season and showed his true talent this season," said Grifol. "He was a true competitor at both the AA and AAA levels, and put his name on the map as one of the most talented pitchers in the minors."

Castro was named the Mariners Player Development Staff of the Year after taking several roles during the 2010 season. He started the season as the minor league hitting coordinator and took over as the hitting coach at AAA Tacoma on May 9 when Alonzo Powell joined the Major League staff. He took on the role of interim manager with the Rainiers on August 9, when Daren Brown took over in Seattle, and helped lead Tacoma to the PCL championship round. Castro, along with co-hitting coordinator Phil Plantier, was instrumental in guiding the farm system to one of its best offensive performances in club history. The Mariners four full-season squads (Tacoma, West Tenn, High Desert, Clinton) combined to lead the minors in runs scored (2,956), slugging percentage (.439), OPS (.782) and home runs (527).

"Jose took on a variety of roles during the season and with each step, nothing missed a beat," said Grifol. "He has been a quality leader in our organization for several years and is an integral part of our player development staff."

-- Complete Awards List and Player Stats on Page 2 -- MARINERS MINOR LEAGUE AWARDS

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Rich Poythress (High Desert)

PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Michael Pineda (West Tenn/Tacoma)

PLAYER DEVELOPMENT STAFF OF THE YEAR: Jose Castro (Hitting Coordinator/Tacoma Interim Manager)

Level Team Player Pitcher

AAA Tacoma Matt Mangini (3B) Luke French (LHP)

AA West Tenn Alex Liddi (3B) Michael Pineda (RHP)

A High Desert Rich Poythress (1B) Kenn Kasparek (RHP)

A Clinton Nick Franklin (SS) Erasmo Ramirez (RHP)

Short-A Everett Kevin Rivers (OF) Anthony Fernandez (LHP)

Rookie Pulaski Ramon Morla (3B) Tim Boyce (RHP)

Rookie AZL Mariners Ji-Man Choi (C) Dylan Unsworth (RHP)

Dominican DSL Mariners Rudy van Heydoorn (1B/3B) Henry Perez (LHP)

Venezuelan VSL Mariners Ivan Ramirez (C) Vicente Campos (RHP)

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