They began the Northwest League season on the same field Friday, but Spokane’s Alex Gonzalez and Everett’s Carlton Tanabe are worlds apart when it comes to professional baseball.
Tanabe, a fifth-year professional catcher, went 3 for 5 with one run and one run batted in to help guide the AquaSox to a 6-4 win at Avista Stadium.
Tanabe’s offense, and the pitching of batterymate Rigoberto Garcia, put a damper on the pro debut of Gonzalez, who was selected by the Texas Rangers in the first round of last week’s draft.
Gonzalez, a right-hander out of Oral Roberts, allowed five hits and three earned runs in 1 2/3 innings as the Indians ultimately fell behind 5-0 in the third.
“He was a little shaky,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said of Gonzalez. “I think he was nervous. The pitches that were down were very effective, but the ones that were up got hit.”
“I felt comfortable out there, nothing shocking or anything,” said Gonzalez, who was on a pitch count of two innings or 35 pitches. “I didn’t make the pitches I needed to. My offspeed wasn’t great.”
Garcia, a nondrafted free agent in 2010, allowed three hits and two earned runs in six innings.
“Rigoberto’s a pretty good pitcher and he can go the distance,” Tanabe said. “His fastball command was good and he was getting the breaking ball over, too.”
Tanabe, a 21-year-old from Honolulu, has been up and down the Seattle Mariners’ organization, having just come to Everett from Triple-A Tacoma.
“We just have a lot of catchers now, so they found a spot for me here,” Tanabe said.
Tanabe capped a two-run first inning with an RBI single to right field. He bunted for a single in the third and scored on Bryan Brito’s double to left for a 5-0 lead. He also reached on an error, lined out to center and collected an infield single in the ninth.
“I just want to get some playing time, that’s all I really want,” said Tanabe, who has had two previous stops with Everett but had never played against Spokane.
“I’ve been in the organization for a while, so I feel comfortable,” Tanabe said. “More than I did four years ago.”
The Indians, trailing 5-0, made a game of it, starting with Alberto Triunfel’s RBI double to left in the fourth. Saquan Johnson ripped a one-out triple to right in the fifth and scored on Chris Garia’s infield out for a 5-2 game.
Garia’s two-out, two-run triple over the head of center fielder James Zamarripa in the seventh pulled the Indians within one run, but Alfredo Morales blasted a home run to right in the eighth for the final margin.
“I think it’s huge to come back, not get shut out and maybe just get one hit,” Hulett said. “We made the most of our (four) hits.”
Texas Rangers assistant for player development and international scouting Paul Kruger is in town. … Opening-night attendance was 6,181, a little more than 600 shy of a sellout. … Tonight’s projected starters are Spokane’s Yohander Mendez and Everett’s Lars Huijer, of the Netherlands.