World will be watching Mariners' duo
Prospects Liddi, Gillies selected to play in Futures Game
SEATTLE -- The only player in the Mariners organization from Italy, and one of their Minor Leaguers from Canada, have been selected to participate in the Futures Game next month during the All-Star Game festivities in St. Louis.
Third baseman Alex Liddi and outfielder Tyson Gillies, currently playing for Class-A High Desert, are among the 25 players named to represent the World Team, it was announced by Major League Baseball on Thursday.
"It an incredible accomplishment to be selected, especially when you're playing A-ball," Mariners Minor League director Pedro Grifol said. "To be recognized as one of the future stars in the game has to be a great feeling for the players and also for the organization. I'm excited for these kids."The 11th annual XM All-Star Futures Game, pitting the best Minor League prospects from the United States against the best from the rest of the World, will be held at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on All-Star Sunday, July 12, at 8 a.m. PT. MLB.com will provide complete coverage before, during and after the game, which can be seen live on ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on Gameday. Here's a closer look at the Mariners' representatives: Alex Liddi, 3B, Class-A High Desert (World Team)
The 20-year-old is having a breakout season for the Mavericks, leading the team in home runs and RBIs while batting well over .300 through the first 70 games of the season. He already has established single-season highs in homers and RBIs. He played for Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic, going 3-for-8 in two games. The 6-foot-4, 176-pounder could develop into a terrific slugger if he puts on a few more pounds via a weight-training program. Liddi is one of three players the Mariners have signed out of Italy, not exactly known as a baseball hotbed, and he's the only one still in the system. Tyson Gillies, OF, Class-A High Desert (World Team)
Mariners fans following Spring Training closely this year probably remember the name Gillies. The speedster from Kamloops, British Columbia and the Mariners' 25th-round Draft choice in 2006, opened some eyes with his flash-and-dash style in Arizona. But what makes him stand out on and off a baseball field is the way he has learned to cope with the fact he was born with 30 percent hearing in one ear and 60 percent in the other -- something no one knew until he was 4-years-old. The Mariners currently have eight players on the 25-man roster that played in All-Star Future's Games: Wladimir Balentien (World, 2006, '07), Erik Bedard (World, '01, '02), Yuniesky Betancourt (World, '05), Russell Branyan (US, 1999), Franklin Gutierrez (World, '03), Felix Hernandez (World, '04), Jose Lopez (World, '01) and Carlos Silva (World, '00).
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.