Catcher Miguel Olivo, who missed 23 days with a strained groin muscle, was returned to the Mariners’ roster Thursday before the club began a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels. The Mariners made room by sending OF Casper Wells to Class AAA Tacoma.
Olivo, who went down in the ninth inning April 30 while making an off-balance throw to first, had three rehab games with Tacoma, hitting 3×13 (.231). Wednesday in Iowa, he was 2×5 with a home run.
Before his injury, Olivo hit .210 with three homers and seven RBI, and despite his penchant for passed balls, was valued by manager Eric Wedge for his ability to manage the pitching staff and his leadership.
The catching duties were split between rookie Jesus Montero (.257 average, six homers, 22 RBI) and veteran John Jaso (.250, one homer, 10 RBI in 60 at-bats), which included one game batting leadoff.
Wells, 27, played 25 games, including 12 starts in left field, and hit .213 (10×47) this season with one home run and 6 RBI in 25 games played. With his departure and the apparent fixing of Chone Figgins to the bench, it appears that Alex Liddi, who hit a grand slam Wedneday to help beat Texas will be the regular left fielder. The other candidate, Mike Carp, is hitting .160 after a return from an opening-day shoulder sprain.
Ugh. Keeping Figgins and Olivio … and saying bye-bye to Wells. Who says the Mariners don’t honor their past?
I guess I can’t see sending Wells down but keeping Figgins around. If Figgy’s not going to be used, it’s past time to take a deep breath, cut him loose if we can’t trade him and eat his salary. Touting your commitment to youth while simultaneously jacking around one of your young players to accomodate a thirtysomething underachiever doesn’t engender credibility for your organization.
The club needs to start working on Figgins accepting his new role. Maybe have him speak with Mark McLemore on adjusting to an everyday bench role instead of starting. If they never use Figgins it doesn’t make sense to send Wells down though I do get why they did. But from a what’s good for the team standpoint sending Wells down is just wrong.