ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – When the Tampa Bay Rays pushed the winning run home in the 14th inning to beat Seattle on Friday, the world was spared the birth of a new career – Miguel Olivo, relief pitcher.
Less than 24 hours after he’d begun stretching in the bullpen, the last-resort option after the Mariners’ Tom Wilhelmsen, Olivo talked about what might have been.
“They asked me if I was OK with it and once I said ‘yes,’ (manager) Eric Wedge told me to go down to the bullpen – and my whole attitude changed,” Olivo said. “I got serious right away.”
As for getting ready to pitch, Olivo said he went with the best advice.
“I did whatever FiFi (Felix Hernandez) told me I should do,” he said.
The Mariners had used every relief pitcher available once Wilhelmsen entered the game, and he was in his second inning of work when the Rays won, 4-3.
“We got to the 14th inning because of the way we worked the bullpen,” Wedge said, “but you can only ask so much of those guys. They took over after the sixth inning.”
Had Wedge ever used a position player on the mound?
“Maybe once in my career,” he said. “It’s not something you want to do. You want to keep the game going, give your team the chance to win. We picked Olivo because he’s a veteran, and he’s got the arm for it.”
“I pitched once in A-ball, three pitches or five, and I know I hit 90 mph,” Olivo said. “I think I could have thrown hard and thrown strikes, but the catcher would only need one sign for me. All I have is a fastball.”
Olivo said had he taken the mound, there’d have been no smile for opposing hitters or foolishness on the field.
“No matter what the situation is, you don’t want to lose the game,” Olivo said. “If you care about baseball, that would hurt.”
ERASMO ON MEND
Rookie right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (right elbow), on the disabled list since July 1, threw two simulated innings against teammates Saturday, and is on schedule to join the Tacoma Rainiers next week.
“The plan is to have him throw another bullpen session in Seattle on Monday, then start his rehabilitation assignment with Tacoma on Wednesday,” Wedge said.
Ramirez is dealing as much with emotional issues as physical.
“I didn’t care about velocity, I just wanted to have command of my pitches,” Ramirez said. “I didn’t feel any tightness, any pain – but I was afraid I’d feel it. I’ve never been hurt before, and once you feel better you have to get past the fear.”
GUTI STILL ISN’T RIGHT
Exactly three weeks after being put on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion, center fielder Franklin Gutierrez has been shut down from physical activity again.
“He’s having headaches again,” Wedge said. “We’ve shut him down for a few days and will have him looked at when we get home (Monday). They warned us there might be some setbacks.”
The Mariners activated right-handed reliever Stephen Pryor from his 20-day minor league rehab assignment, and optioned him back to the Tacoma Rainiers. … Pitcher Kevin Millwood and his two sons went deep sea fishing Saturday and reeled in quite the catch-and-release haul: redfish, mackerel, rays and a few sharks. “Dad only got one fish,” said the younger son, James. “That’s because I was helping you two,” Millwood growled. Good times.
Seattle plays today at Tampa, a 10:40 a.m. game that will be televised on Root Sports. Probable starting pitchers: Blake Beavan (4-6, 6.06 ERA) vs. Matt Moore (6-6, 4.39).firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @LarryLaRue