Mike Carp dressed in a crowded clubhouse today - there are 63 men in camp - and couldn't help noticing the number of first baseman putting on a Seattle Mariners uniform.
Carp, 23, had a good season in 2009, batting .271 with 15 home runs, 64 RBI and a .372 on base percentage in 110 games in Tacoma. Given a 21 game late season gig in Seattle, he batted .315 there with a .415 OBP.
"I felt pretty good with my season," Carp said.
Then, from home, he watched the Mariners bring in first baseman Casey Kotchman, Ryan Garko and Tommy Everidge to join Carp, Brad Nelson and even Mike Sweeney.
"I thought Jack (Zduriencik) was just trying to put together the best team possible, to give the team options," Carp said. "If anything, it brought out my competitive side - made me work a little harder this winter.
"I'm more relaxed in camp this spring because I know most guys and they know me. The coaching staff, the manager, they've seen me play, saw me last September in the big leagues."
Carp will do the most he can with however many at-bats he gets, knowing full well that those at-bats may be precious, given how many first basemen are here.
In all likelihood, he's headed back to Tacoma - an insurance policy for the Mariners. Carp is aware of that, but rather than press to impress, he's going to do his best and hope that's enough.
"I have to be me," he said. "I can't try to be someone else. I finished strong last year, I'll just try to carry that over into spring training and hope they see it."