Catcher Miguel Olivo, whose strained groin muscle has cost him two weeks – and was thought to have his opening day with Seattle in jeopardy – has been quietly making a remarkable recovery.
“I caught a bullpen yesterday,” Olivo said this morning. “I just ran hard for the trainer, and I’m going to catch another bullpen today. I’m fine.”
If true, it means the 32-year-old will almost certainly be ready to play when the Mariners open the 2011 season in Oakland on April 1. That, in turn, would give manager Eric Wedge more of the team he envisioned in the off-season, when general manager Jack Zduriencik signed free agent Olivo.
Olivo was brought aboard to shore up a position that ranked last in the league in defense last season and didn’t contribute anything offensively.
From the beginning of camp, it has been largely assumed catchers Adam Moore and Josh Bard have been in a battle to back up Olivo. Then, the first weekend of March, Olivo went down with a groin strain.
“I’ll be out a couple of weeks, no more,” he insisted at the time.
Doctors and trainers weren’t as certain, and the Mariners had to at least begin to make contingency plans.
That was then, this is now.
Olivo could catch in a game early next week. He’s already running, hitting and handling bullpens without pain. Ready for opening day? Olivo said he would be two weeks ago, and hasn’t changed his mind.
“I feel great,” he said.
Now, it’s a matter of how soon he can convince Wedge and others.