AquaSox get taste of big leagues

  • By Nick Patterson / Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, July 14, 2004 9:00pm
  • Sports

EVERETT – After the Everett AquaSox finished batting practice before Tuesday’s game against the Yakima Bears, the players filed up to the clubhouse at Everett Memorial Stadium to partake in their pregame meal.

Miguel Olivo took one look at the spread, seeing a tongue depressor sticking out of a jar of peanut butter, and decided the food needed an upgrade. So Olivo bought Chinese food for the entire team after the game.

Such are the benefits of having a major-league player in town for a couple of days.

Olivo, the Seattle Mariners’ new catcher, finished up his two-game rehabilitation assignment with the Everett AquaSox on Wednesday night, and his presence proved beneficial for everyone involved.

“It’s been very fun,” Olivo said before Wednesday’s game about his stint in Everett. “When you have Latin players and American players, you have to be that way. Right now they’re feeling good that a major-league player can come here and have fun with it. A lot of guys don’t do that when they come from the big leagues. But that’s me, I’m a happy man.”

Olivo, a native of Villa Vasquez in the Dominican Republic who turns 26 today, was getting some work in before rejoining the Mariners for today’s game in Seattle against the Cleveland Indians. Olivo has been on the disabled list since July 1 after undergoing surgery to remove a kidney stone.

Olivo, who was acquired on June 27 from the Chicago White Sox in the Freddy Garcia trade, played in just one game for the Mariners, June 29th’s 4-3 victory over Texas, before having to be hospitalized with the kidney stone.

“The day I got to the hospital I got a little pain,” said Olivo, who has batted .264 with seven home runs and 26 RBI for the White Sox and Mariners this season. “I played that whole game and after the game, that was when the big one came.”

Olivio was hitless in four at-bats Wednesday.

Olivo had the kidney stone removed and spent two weeks recovering before returning to the field Tuesday. In that game Olivo caught six innings and went 0-for-2 with a pair of groundouts.

Most importantly, the two-game stint in Everett seemed to do the trick for Olivo in terms of getting himself reaquainted with baseball.

“I feel very good,” Olivo said. “I feel strong and I’ll be ready for (today).

“I had 15 days on the DL and I did nothing,” Olivo added. “(Tuesday) night was different. I could see the ball very good today and I was feeling a little better.”

Olivo’s presence has also been a benefit to the AquaSox, who have had the opportunity to observe and learn from a major-league player.

“Miguel sets a pretty good example for the catchers,” Everett catcher Omar Falcon said. “He lets us know what it takes to get up there and he’s really a go-go kind of guy.

“He doesn’t try to do too much or too little,” Falcon added. “He just does what he can do and that’s about it. He doesn’t try to overdo it.”

The pitchers, particularly Tuesday’s starter Shawn Nottingham and Wednesday’ starter Aaron Jensen, also benefited from throwing to a major-league catcher.

“It was fun throwing to him,” Nottingham said. “I threw to Ben Davis when I was in triple-A for a few weeks at the beginning of the season and those guys know how to call pitches.”

And Olivo’s final piece of wisdom for the Everett players?

“I say basically, ‘One day after you’ve got (to the majors) you’ve got to do the same thing,’ ” Olivo said. “You have to be happy to come to the minors and do something for the players.”

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