08/02/12 — Carter Capps thrilled to be in Seattle Mariners uniform

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Carter Capps thrilled to be in Seattle Mariners uniform

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on August 2, 2012 1:49 PM

SEATTLE -- The stadium was a lot bigger, the lights a bit brighter and the grass a little greener, but at the end of the day it was just another baseball game to Carter Capps.

Capps experienced his first game as a Seattle Mariner on Tuesday night from the bullpen at Safeco Field after being called up from Triple-A Tacoma on Monday.

"It was a great experience," Capps said. "You don't appreciate it fully when you see a Major League ballpark on TV. Just getting to sit in the bullpen and watch a good ballgame with my new teammates was awesome. I wasn't really nervous because I have been in so many games that it is still just baseball to me."

Capps has not been told exactly how he will be used out of the Seattle bullpen, he just knows he will be ready when his name is called. The Mariners begin a three-game series with the New York Yankees on Friday night at Yankee Stadium.

"I'm sure it will be pretty impressive," Capps said of getting to pitch in a Major League game. "I am just going to try to concentrate and do my job and hopefully pitch some quality innings. I'm sure getting to Yankee Stadium will be special. That place is so historic and it represents so much."

A former North Lenoir High School and Mount Olive College standout, Capps made just one appearance at Tacoma being before called up to Seattle. He pitched 1 1/3 perfect innings and struck out three. Upon learning of his promotion to Seattle, Capps' called his parents in the early hours of Tuesday morning to break the news.

"It was like two or three in the morning and I woke them up, but it was pretty special and they were pretty happy," Capps said. "I could not sleep the night before I got Seattle. I'm not sure it has even all really set in with me yet."

Capps began this season at Double-A Jackson (Tenn.) and recorded 19 saves with a 1.26 ERA and 72 strikeouts with just 12 walks in 50 innings. He also earned a spot in the Double-A All-Star game.

A catcher in high school, Capps' rise to the Major Leagues has happened almost as quickly as one of his 99 mile-an-hour fastballs. Converted to a pitcher at Mount Olive, Capps developed into one of Division II's best pitchers after redshirting in 2009.

He set an NCAA Division II baseball record with 24 consecutive wins, including the first-ever nine-inning no-hitter in Mount Olive history. He helped the Trojans to a third-place tie at the 2011 Division II College World Series in Cary.

"I've been really blessed," Capps said. "It seems like everything has come together the last few months and I'm just trying to ride it out."

Capps was also named the Division II pitcher-of-the-year by three different publications during his final season with the Trojans. He was also named the Conference Carolinas male athlete-of-the-year in 2011. Capps was drafted by Seattle with the 121st pick in the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player draft.