Former ace Hernandez upset over Mariners' opening day plan

Seattle Mariners second baseman Kris Negron shields his eyes from the sun with his glove as he eyes a pop up from Los Angeles Angels' Jonathan Lucroy in the second inning of a spring training game Sunday in Tempe, Ariz. Negron made the catch.

Kris Negron began playing positions all around the field at a very young age in baseball.

It started in Little League and has continued into the major leagues.

He can play first base, second base, shortstop and third base, as well as each outfield position.

He has made starts so far in spring training at second base, shortstop and third base this year for the Seattle Mariners, who play their home games in the Cactus League exhibition season at Peoria Stadium, part of the Peoria Sports Complex in Arizona.

“I’ve been bouncing around the field ever since I was 10, 11 years old. It’s something that I’ve welcomed at a very young age,” said Negron, a Napa resident, who is on the Mariners’ active roster. “Baseball has been my dream ever since I was a kid. I started playing baseball when I was 6 years old. I haven’t put a bat down since.

“It definitely has taken a lot of work to be able to get comfortable at all the positions. At the same time, it’s something I’ve done my entire life. It takes a lot of reps at every position, a lot of long days, a lot of tiring days when you are running around in the outfield and then coming in and taking your ground balls in the infield.”

Negron’s mind-set for the game is to bring a positive attitude every time he gets to the ballpark. It’s also to just go out there and have fun.

He was acquired by Seattle in a trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for cash considerations last year. He was called up by the Mariners from Tacoma of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, as teams expanded their rosters, last September.

In 18 games with the Mariners, Negron batted .207 with a home run and three RBIs.

He was batting .283 with 17 doubles, five triples, 15 home runs, 45 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 118 games for Reno of the Pacific Coast League.

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“The team was awesome. They welcomed me really quickly and I got plenty of at-bats and opportunities and made some good plays on defense and got a handful of hits,” Negron said in a telephone interview on Saturday. “That was a really great experience overall.”

So far in spring training, Negron has played in 14 games and is batting .190 with six RBIs.

He has appeared in 130 major league games over parts of five seasons and has a .215 career batting average with seven home runs and 24 RBIs. He has also been with the Cincinnati Reds and Diamondbacks.

“This journey has been a blast,” he said. “My family supported me the whole way. Growing up, my dad never missed a baseball game. My mom was always there to support me. I’ve been very blessed to have all this support from my family.”

Negron, a 2004 graduate of Vanden High School, went to UC Davis on a baseball scholarship. After one year with the Aggies, he transferred to Cosumnes River College-Sacramento.

He was selected in the seventh round of the 2006 major league draft by the Boston Red Sox. He was traded to Cincinnati in 2009.

Negron made his major league debut on June 7, 2012.

He has been in spring training camp with the Mariners since Feb. 9.

“I’m just excited to get the season going. Things are going well and I’m feeling good,” he said. “I’m getting at-bats and moving around the infield. Just doing my normal utility stuff. My role for the longest time now is to be the utility guy, just kind of be able to bounce around from position to position. It’s the role that I love.

“I’m always ready to play everywhere. I’ve just got to control what I can control, and that’s what I do on the field.”

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Executive Sports Editor

Executive Sports Editor Marty James has been with the Napa Valley Register since 1979. He is a member of the Associated Press Sports Editors, California Prep Sportswriters Association, and the California Golf Writers Association. He was inducted into the