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May 1, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Mike Carp excited to be back with the Mariners

The clubhouse buzz today was about five Mariner players who took a trip to the catwalk at Tropicana Field. Here’s my account.
Mike Carp got the call on Monday night that he was coming up to the Mariners to replace the injured Miguel Olivo. He boarded a plane at 5 a.m. Tuesday morning in Tucson. where the Rainiers had just arrived from Las Vegas for a series — but not before tweeting out the news that he was headed back to the majors.
“I figured if I was getting on a flight, I could probably throw it out there,” he said with a laugh.
The Mariners didn’t make the official announcement until the afternoon that Carp had been recalled from Tacoma, and Olivo had been placed on the disabled list. Carp, meanwhile, flew through Atlanta and strolled into the Mariners clubhouse at Tropicana Field at about 4:30. His excitement was evident.
“It’s relieving,” he said. “Very refreshing. I’ve been working real hard to get ready. I’ve been wanting to help the club up here. It’s been a grind, but I’m happy to be here.”

Carp suffered a sprained right shoulder in the season-opening game in Japan on March 28, and went on the DL the next day. It took him longer than he expected to come back, he admitted. He had been hitting .137 (7-for-51) in 13 games for Tacoma while on a rehab assignment. He had two doubles for his only extra-base hits, and four RBIs, with 14 strikeouts.
“I feel pretty good,” he said. “The arm strength’s still getting there. Obviously, it’s going to take some time. It was a pretty bad injury. I didn’t think it was, but I was told by the doctors it’s something you have to work through, and it’s going to take some time. It’s been getting there, I’ve been turning corners every week, and this last week I’ve been feeling pretty normal. Hopefully, this next week coming up I get back to 100 percent.”
As for his timing at the plate, “It’s getting there. Obviously, having a couple weeks off, it’s going to throw you off. Being out of my element again, going to Tacoma and preparing down there, it’s different. I got used used to being up here, it’s different preparation getting ready for a big league game than it is for a Triple-A game. I’m excited to be back here and take advantage of all that stuff.”
Carp had been alternating between playing in the field at first base and left field, and serving as designated hitter. He was going to play back-to-back days in the field for the first time starting tonight for Tacoma. Manager Eric Wedge elected to keep Carp on the bench, noting they were facing a left-hander and Carp had flown all day.
“Talking to the guys that have been watching him, they say he’s ready,” Wedge said. “We’ll work him in like we’re working everyone else in, and go from there. Let him get his bearings straight today, and we’ll see where we are tomorrow.”
Carp said his only problem is on throws, and that’s lessening.
“The swing’s feeling good. Throwing actually is feeling really good. I’ve been stretching out farther the last couple of weeks. It’s getting there. My strength’s coming back. I’m excited about that. ”
On the other topic of the day, there is no word yet on the severity of Olivo’s injury. He will be examined by Mariner doctors on Friday when the team returns home.
Here’s what Wedge said about how he will deploy his catchers, Jesus Montero and John Jaso: “We’ll split time between Montero and Jaso. I don’t have a strict plan right now. I talked to them both last night, and let them know they’re both going to catch and they’re going to split time. We’ll put out the lineup we think is right for that particular day.”
I asked Wedge about Montero’s disparity in batting average as a catcher (.450, 9-for-20, three homers, eight RBIs) and as DH (.197, 12-for-61, one homer, five RBIs).
“I don’t think that’s unusual,” he said. “It’s tough to DH, and it’s particularly hard for young players to learn to DH, and how to keep themselves going and have the same type of intensity as you do when you’re in the game the whole time.
“But it’s something I’ve talked to him about. It’s something he’s going to have to get better with, because he has a chance to be a pretty good hitter. If that’s the case, he’s going to be DHing some of the time. It’s no different than (Dustin) Ackley tonight (who is at DH). Guys that are hitters, it’s something they’re going to do from time to time.”

Comments | Topics: Jesus Montero


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