SURPRISE, Ariz. - Catcher Miguel Olivo, whose strained groin muscle has cost him two weeks - and was thought to jeopardize his status for opening day with Seattle - has been quietly making a remarkable recovery.
“I caught a bullpen (session on Wednesday),” Olivo said Thursday. “I just ran hard for the trainer this morning, and I’m going to catch another bullpen (session) today. I’m fine.”
If true, it means that the 32-year-old almost certainly will be ready to play when the Mariners open the 2011 season in Oakland on April 1.
“He’s doing real well,” Mariners trainer Rick Griffin said. “He’ll be looked at again next week by Dr. (Edward) Kalfayan, and then we’ll see where we are. Miguel is right on schedule.
If Olivo is ready for the regular season, it would give manager Eric Wedge more of the team he envisioned during the offseason, when general manager Jack Zduriencik signed Olivo as a free agent.
Olivo was brought aboard to shore up a position that ranked last in the league in defense last season and contributed very little on offense.
From the beginning of camp, it has been largely assumed that catchers Adam Moore and Josh Bard have been in a battle to back up Olivo. Then, on the first weekend of March, Olivo went down with a groin strain.
“I’ll be out a couple of weeks, no more,” Olivo insisted.
Doctors and trainers weren’t as certain, and the Mariners had to at least begin to make contingency plans.
That was then, and this is now.
“I think I could play now,” Olivo said, although that might be stretching the point. “But I’ll be playing again before the season starts, I promise you.”