SEATTLE – Matt Tuiasosopo showed up at the Mariners’ spring training camp six months ago with a half-dozen gloves – some for infield, some for outfield and one for first base – and a mission to use all of them this season.
Saturday, his versatility came in handy when manager Daren Brown had to juggle his lineup because center fielder Franklin Gutierrez came down with an upset stomach.
Tuiasosopo was in the original lineup at third base as Brown hoped to give third baseman Jose Lopez the day off. Instead, Brown scratched Gutierrez and moved Tuiasosopo to left field, with left fielder Michael Saunders sliding to center field and Lopez returning to third.
The last thing Brown wants is to typecast the 24-year-old Tuiasosopo as a utility player, although his versatility came in handy.
“I always hesitate with a kid his age to say utility,” Brown said. “I still look at a 23- or 24-year-old guy as a possible everyday player.”
Tuiasosopo has started 27 games this season at four positions – 11 in left field, seven at third base, two at shortstop and seven at first.
He played several games at second base late last season at Triple-A Tacoma – under Brown – before the Mariners called him up and started him six times there in September.
“I always feel that with good athletes the more you put them out there, the more they make adjustments,” Brown said.