February 17, 2011 in Sports

Catcher Olivo returns to Mariners with extra offensive punch

 

Olivo
(Full-size photo)

PEORIA, Ariz. – Be it in Spanish or English, in the clubhouse or bullpen, Miguel Olivo comes in loud and clear.

He might be calling out to get a teammate’s attention or merely to let his pitcher know to give him the off-speed stuff. Whatever the reason, Olivo is no longer the quieter, more observant guy he was the last time he wore a Seattle Mariners uniform in 2005.

He played for four other teams before returning to the Mariners as a free agent this offseason. He’s a better hitter with more power, and to hear him tell it, he’s much more mature.

“I’m happy to be back and I hope everything that happens here is good,” Olivo said. “I’m glad to be playing another year in the big leagues.”

With an overall young pitching staff, adding Olivo to help guide the Mariners’ pitchers was key.

“I’ve been around and I’ve caught a lot of good pitchers,” Olivo said. “Now I get to work with a lot of youngsters and it’s something I can do to help the team.”

Olivo arrived in Seattle in 2004 when the Mariners dealt one of their best all-time pitchers, Freddy Garcia, to the Chicago White Sox for three prospects, including Olivo.

But Olivo struggled, especially with the bat, during the parts of 2004 and 2005 he was with the Mariners.

He was traded to the San Diego Padres in July 2005. That’s when Olivo’s fortunes turned for the better. He appeared in the 2005 N.L. Division Series for San Diego after batting .304 in 37 games for the Padres.

Then came two decent years with the Florida Marlins followed by two more with Kansas City, including the 2009 season, when Olivo represented his native Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic and hit a career-high 23 home runs for the Royals. Olivo spent 2010 with the Colorado Rockies.

Over the course of those years since Seattle, he developed a reputation for being fiery and intense.

Mariners manager Eric Wedge prefers the toughness and feisty side of his catcher, having been one himself.

“That’s good. You need to have that,” Wedge said. “He has an edge to him that I like.”

Notes

Right-hander Yusmeiro Petit joined the club at spring training with his international visa issues resolved. Petit took his physical and worked out with teammates in the morning … Left-hander Erik Bedard threw his second bullpen session of the spring, and Wedge said all looks good with his left shoulder, which required surgery last year.


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