The newest Frog

  • Wednesday, April 7, 2004 9:00pm
  • Sports

Opponent: Anaheim Angels

When: 1:35 p.m.

Where: Safeco Field

TV: None

Radio: KOMO (1000 AM)

Starting pitchers: Seattle right-hander Freddy Garcia (12-14, 4.51 earned run average in 2003) vs. right-hander Kelvim Escobar (13-9, 4.29).

Terry Mulholland’s pro baseball career began in Everett 20 years ago and, for the moment, it has returned there.

Mulholland didn’t make the Mariners’ roster out of spring training, but the team has assigned him to its Class A Everett AquaSox minor league club.

It’s a move that allows the 41-year-old left-hander to work out with the Mariners as he looks for another major league team that needs left-handed pitching.

Just don’t look for him to come anywhere near an AquaSox uniform this summer.

“I can’t imagine him not hooking on somewhere,” Mariners manager Bob Melvin said.

In the meantime, Mulholland has a locker in the Mariners’ clubhouse and works out with them before their games.

“I can continue working out here, throwing bullpens and throwing simulated games,” he said.

Mulholland said he has called some teams that might be looking for a left-handed pitcher but found nobody interested yet. That’s no surprise because teams finalized their rosters only last weekend and are still evaluating their needs.

Mulholland, who signed a minor league contract with the Mariners in the offseason, went 3-1 with a 4.05 earned run average in 20 innings for the Mariners at spring training. He became the odd left-hander out when Ron Villone and Mike Myers won jobs in the bullpen.

Mulholland had the option of declining his assignment to the minor leagues and becoming a free agent, but Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi came up with the idea of assigning him to the AquaSox, which will allow him to work out with the big league club until the Everett season begins in mid-June.

The likelihood is much stronger that he’ll sign with another major league club by then.

Mulholland could have pitched for the Class AAA Tacoma Rainiers, but he didn’t want to take up a roster spot on that team and push a worthy young pitcher down a notch in the organization.

“Also, I wouldn’t know what role I’d pitch down there,” he said. “This way, I can stay on a routine and get as much work as I need to stay sharp.”

It also gives Mulholland and his wife, Kiara, an opportunity to drive back to her hometown of Vancouver, B.C., this weekend when the Mariners are out of town.

On the way up I-5, Mulholland said he would cast a glance at Everett Memorial Stadium, where he began his professional career in 1984 with the Everett Giants. On an earlier trip, he took the Broadway exit leading to the stadium.

“I even pulled into the parking lot and took a look around,” he said.

Health report: Mariners closer Eddie Guardado, shelved since Sunday because of shoulder stiffness, will be examined by a doctor today and might be cleared to play catch.

Trainer Rick Griffin wouldn’t speculate when Guardado will be able to pitch, although it seems certain he won’t be available until this weekend at Oakland.

“We’ll need a few days to bring him back,” Griffin said. “He’ll long-toss and I’m sure they’ll want him to do an extremely thorough, aggressive bullpen to make sure he’s OK. Whether that takes place over a one, two or three-day period, I don’t know. Until he actually throws again we’re not going to have a good idea.”

Third baseman Scott Spiezio underwent about seven hours of therapy and treatment on the back injury that landed him on the disabled list.

“He’s getting two sets of treatment from the therapist, then he comes down here and does some water work, cardio on the bike, some light leg work and some arm work,” Griffin said. “It’s a long day.”

Freddy’s debut: Melvin obviously wants to see Freddy Garcia pitch a solid game today against the Angels, although he said it’s not vital that the enigmatic right-hander in 2003 start his 2004 season with a good outing.

“Of course he’d like to get off to a good start and build upon what he did in spring training,” Melvin said. “He’s very focused, he’s throwing the ball well, he’s throwing all four of his pitches and his command was very good in spring training.

“We look for Freddy to go out there and have a nice outing. But if he doesn’t have his best outing, it doesn’t mean that he’s off to a bad year.”

Music man: Melvin, noting that utility player Dave Hansen is an accomplished guitarist and Spiezio sings lead in a grunge band, admitted to his own musical prowess.

“I know one song on the piano,” Melvin said.

After a moment of silence, a reporter asked what that song is.

“Close to You,” Melvin said, “by the Carpenters. I can only play it one-handed.”

Kirby Arnold, Herald Writer

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