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Peterson finds power stroke for Generals

Mariners' No. 2 prospect plates four as Hultzen returns to mound
May 2, 2015

Consider D.J. Peterson a fan of May Day. 

Through the first month of the season, the Mariners' No. 2 prospect batted .203 with three extra-base hits -- two of which came in the final three games of April.

In the first game of the new month, Peterson collected four RBIs, going 2-for-4 with his first homer of the year and his fourth double, sparking Double-A Jackson to an 8-3 victory over visiting Pensacola on Friday. He also stole a base.

"I'm really excited, obviously, [considering] the slow start," he said. "It seems like every year I start off in a bit of a struggle because I come out trying to do too much. I'm just trying to get the train back on track and help this Double-A team win."

The game also marked the return of No. 25 Seattle prospect Danny Hultzen, who'd been out of action since September 2013 with a torn labrum and damaged rotator cuff. He threw 56 pitches, 38 for strikes, while yielding an unearned run on three hits and a walk with four strikeouts over 3 1/3 innings.

"Our whole entire organization is excited about having him back, Peterson said. "He was dominant tonight. He showed command to both sides of the plate, and he's a competitor -- he goes out there and competes."

Peterson showed his support for the southpaw by staking him to an early lead. With the bases loaded and nobody out in the first inning, the 23-year-old first baseman drilled a two-run double on the first pitch he saw from top Reds prospect Robert Stephenson.

"I was looking for a pitch in the middle of the plate," said's No. 49 overall prospect. "With Stephenson, he's got plus stuff, he's a highly talked about prospect, so I'm just trying to get a base hit up the middle. Luckily, I got a fastball I could hit down the line."

An inning later, Peterson stepped in against Timothy Adleman with two outs and the bases empty.

"In my second at-bat, it was basically the same thing. I was trying to use the middle of the field and try to get an inning started for us," he said.

He sent a 2-1 offering over the fence in center field for his first round-tripper since a March 4 Cactus League game against the Padres.

"I've been trying to simplify the game and not try to do too much. I'm just trying to have fun and get back to basics," added Peterson, who also drew a bases-loaded walk in the eighth.

The 2013 first-round pick out of the University of New Mexico batted .326 with 31 homers and 31 doubles between Class A Advanced High Desert and Jackson last year, with 13 of those long balls coming in the Southern League.

"I just have to keep working hard, keep showing early, keep working with our hitting coach," he said.

Grady Wood (1-0) allowed two hits and struck out four over three innings of scoreless relief for the Generals.

Jesse Winker, ranked second in the Reds organization, delivered a two-run double for the Blue Wahoos, who got two hits apiece from Juan Perez and Marquez Smith.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to