PEORIA, Ariz. — As the sun shined brightly on the Seattle Mariners’ first day of spring training Friday, an important development took place.
Carlos Silva saw his shadow. It was significantly smaller than the last time the Mariners saw it.
Silva, the rotund right-hander who suffered through weight gain, back problems and a 4-15 record last year, says he has lost 30 pounds this offseason.
Now listed at 250 pounds, Silva said it took better eating habits and a workout program that focused on core strength and cardio, along with a heavy dose of yoga.
That’s right, “El Buffalo” stretched until it hurt.
“It was stressful, painful,” Silva said. “The first 10 minutes was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
Manager Don Wakamatsu was among those impressed with slim Silva.
“It looked like somebody cut him in half,” Wakamatsu said. “I hugged him because I wanted to see if I could get my arms around him. I would have bet money I couldn’t have last year.”
Silva worked with a nutritionist and ate a lot of salads and low-fat foods. He also stayed away from restaurants and resisted the urge to eat after 7 at night.
“I wanted to lose weight,” he said. “I lost five pounds the first week, but I lost nothing the second week. The third week I maybe gained three pounds. But I kept doing my work.”
Wakamatsu was understandably vague when asked about the possibility that Ken Griffey Jr. could be with the Mariners next week, saying he supports general manager Jack Zduriencik with every move he makes.
“We’ll try to do the best we can with whatever talent he gives us,” Wakamatsu said. “We’ll wait and see what happens, who we get when we start on the 18th.”
The Mariners have continued discussions with Griffey’s agent, Brian Goldberg, that could bring their former star back to the team. A report on the mlb.com web site said the Mariners had offered Griffey a contract.
Wakamatsu didn’t seem concerned about any distraction — positive or negative — that Griffey might create if he joins the Mariners.
“When you talk about the environment of the clubhouse, that’s my responsibility,” Wakamatsu said. “It’s my responsibility and the staff’s responsibility to create that environment and make it a positive one.”
Waiting for ‘Wash’
Pitcher Jarrod Washburn has been excused because of an unspecified prior commitment and won’t be in camp until Tuesday.
“He talked about this for quite a while and asked if it was all right for him to go,” Wakamatsu said. “There’s no issue there. I’m not going to chastise guys because they have another commitment.”
Washburn, 5-14 last year, enters camp with no assurance that he’ll be in the starting rotation.
Two others also weren’t here Friday — catcher Kenji Johjima, working out with the Japanese World Baseball Classic team, and right-handed pitcher Luis Munoz, still in the Dominican Republic dealing with visa issues.
Wakamatsu said pitcher Erik Bedard’s flight from Eastern Canada was delayed because of snow, but he expected Bedard to arrive late Friday.
Wakamatsu didn’t expect any players to be restricted in workouts because of health issues. That includes Bedard, who had shoulder surgery last September. … Pitcher Garrett Olson, who pitched last season with the Orioles, spent part of his morning with a black marker masking the orange trim on his baseball shoes. … Half the pitchers throw off the bullpen mounds today with the other half throwing Sunday. The pitchers will throw to hitters on the first day of full-squad workouts.