Tyson is that other No. 24

More than one player wearing No. 24 on his back has gotten some attention this spring.

The number was removed from mothballs last month when Ken Griffey Jr. decided to come back to his professional baseball roots in Seattle. Atlhough No. 24 never was “officially” retired, no one on the Major League roster wore it on the back of their jersey during Junior’s hiatus.

But that was not the case in the Minor Leagues.

And so, in several games Junior hasn’t played this spring, there is another No. 24 — worn by 20-year-old Tyson Gillies, the Mariners 25th round Draft choice in 2006 out of Kamloops, British Columbia.

And he has been noticed.

“He plays the game right,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “Pretty impressive.”

Gillies hasn’t had a locker in the big-league clubhouse the entire camp, but he keeps being invited to the games, and doing superbly, thank you. He’s batting .280, going 7-for-25 with two doubles and a triple. The dude is fast.

“We’re talking about a kid who was in rookie ball last year,” Wakamatsu said. “He offers an awful lot.  He’s an exciting young player. He’s played all three defensive (outfield) positions for us. That’s exciting to have.”

There’s a good chance of Gillies someday becoming a fixture in the Mariners outfield.

There’s no chance he will be wearing No. 24 when he gets here for good.

— Jim Street


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