Seattle welcomes Ackley with open arms
SEATTLE ó And Dustin Ackley thought the saga of finally signing a contract with Seattle was harrowing.
The second overall pick out of North Carolina was formally introduced at Safeco Field on Monday, two weeks after he agreed to a five-year major-league deal worth $7.5 million just minutes before a league deadline.
Ackley was given an oversized practice jersey that made him look far smaller and younger than his listed height (6-foot-1) and weight (184 pounds). Ken Griffey Jr. loved that, marveling that he had found a player skinnier than Ichiro Suzuki.
Ackley had to borrow bats to hit ó when asked if Griffey would let him use his, the slugger looked up, scoffed and said, “You’re kidding, right?”
Good thing his mother Joy and 11-year-old sister Malia had flown in with the family from Walnut Cove. They were holding his spikes, turf shoes and glove in a black duffel bag.
“I hope I don’t screw up or anything out there,” Ackley said.
Finally, after shagging flies in left field, Ackley jogged to the batting cage, He sprayed line drives all over as Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik nodded his head approvingly.