The Mariners had a few of their recent draft picks at Safeco Field on Tuesday to take batting practice, and the symbolism wasn’t lost on Mike Zunino. The catcher, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 draft, was spending his first day in the major leagues after being called up from Class AAA Tacoma.

“It’s crazy, seeing draft picks here hitting batting practice like I was a year ago,” he said. “To feel you’re actually a part of the Mariners is sort of unreal to me. I’m going to keep working hard, and try do my best, and hopefully bring a hard-nosed attitude to this team, and help this team go.”

Zunino’s day began in Las Vegas, and it got a jolt with a mid-morning phone call in his hotel room from Mariners farm director Chris Gwynn. After they exchanged pleasantries, Gwynn asked him, “Why do you think I’m calling you?”

“I can think of two things,’’ Zunino replied.

“I think it’s probably the better of the two,” Gwynn told him.

With an increasing need for catching help on the major-league roster, the Mariners selected the 22-year-old Zunino from Tacoma. Rookie Brandon Bantz was designated for assignment to make room on both the 25- and 40-man rosters. Zunino, who was not in the starting lineup for the Mariners Tuesday night, was hitting .238 with 11 homers and 43 runs batted in for Tacoma. He had struck out 59 times in 185 at-bats.

After hanging up with Gwynn, Zunino called his wife, Alyssa, who was downstairs, and told her to come up as fast as she could. After he broke the news to her, he drove with Tacoma trainer Tom Newberg to the ballpark of the Pacific Coast League’s Las Vegas 51s, packed his equipment, rushed to the airport and caught a flight to Seattle (his family in Florida plans to fly to Seattle Wednesday). Zunino arrived at Safeco in time to take batting practice in the final group.

“I don’t think I could have pictured this a year ago, that this is where I’d be,” he said. “It’s exceeded anything I ever dreamed of. I’m just going to embrace it and take it as it comes.”