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Welcome Back, Mike Carp

Mike Carp
Mike Carp

I don't know if it's official yet, but for all intents and purposes, it's official, unless something dreadful or miraculous were to happen - Miguel Olivo is going on the disabled list with at least a strained groin, and Mike Carp is re-joining the team from a rehab stint in Tacoma.

The deal with Olivo is presently unknown, in terms of severity, but it doesn't look good. The Mariners have a pretty good idea about the strained groin part. They won't know how bad it is until after Olivo undergoes some tests, which he might already have undergone. Based on a number of tweets, Olivo feels much worse than he did a year ago when he strained his groin and missed three weeks. This time he supposedly felt a pop. It's important that one not get ahead of himself, but if one were to get ahead of himself, he'd say that Olivo is going to be out of action for a long time. Maybe his trade-deadline status is in jeopardy. Maybe the rest of his season, and therefore the rest of his Mariners contract, is in jeopardy. We don't know; we will know fairly soon.

So, Carp. Carp hurt his shoulder in the season opener in Japan, which was barely a month ago but which feels like several years ago. Remember when not too far back Eric Wedge said that Franklin Gutierrez was ahead of Carp, and they were both making good progress? Carp missed a full month. Gutierrez still isn't even on a rehab assignment. I won't say that Wedge was wrong, but I will say that we probably shouldn't get our hopes up until we have something solid to rest them on. Remember how George Sherrill was fighting normal elbow tightness at the very beginning of camp? Yep, normal elbow tightness. He's a vet, just have to bring him along slowly. Bringing a veteran along slowly is proven to help repair damage to the ulnar collateral ligament.

Carp got into 13 rehab games with the Rainiers. He spent nine of those at DH and just three of those in the outfield, as his shoulder might still be a little uncomfortable. At the plate, he was bad, but he had hits in three of his last four games, so maybe that's something. Something else that's something is two walks and 14 strikeouts. Zero homers. It was a rehab assignment, not a not-rehab assignment, so Carp's probably still getting better, but Tacoma won't miss him. Always good when the Mariners don't hurt the Rainiers' feelings.

Now things are going to be weird. Ideally, Carp could be the guy who posted a .791 OPS with the Mariners last season. He was a dangerous hitter, who didn't walk but who made up for it with power. There are no guarantees that Carp will be that guy, especially after a bad rehab assignment and a bad spring. So I'm not sure how this roster's going to shake out. Wedge will want to play Carp. He'll want to play Jesus Montero, and Justin Smoak, and Kyle Seager, and probably still Chone Figgins for some reason. And Alex Liddi is still here. There's going to be mixing and matching. Possibly optimized mixing and matching, but probably not.

As people have talked about, among the silver linings here is that the Mariners will be all but forced to play John Jaso at catcher. With the Rays the last two years, Jaso played more than 1,300 innings behind the plate. With the Mariners this year, Jaso has played zero innings behind the plate. Now the Mariners will be forced to see what he can do. But then, the Mariners saw a little of Jaso at catcher in spring and didn't give him a single inning in the first 24 meaningful games, so that tells you something about how they think of him. And the Rays, a sharp organization, traded Jaso for Josh god damned Lueke, so that tells you something about how they think of him. Do not expect Jaso to impress behind the plate. Not that we'd expect any Mariners catcher ever to impress behind the plate.

Hopefully Jaso impresses beside the plate. He's a guy who has good at-bats, which you'd think would endear him to Wedge. But Wedge has grown accustomed to Miguel Olivo beside the plate so maybe he'll think John Jaso is all weird. The goal is for Jaso to do enough good as a hitter to off-set what he does as a catcher. Being a former catcher, Wedge is all about defense-first, but maybe some on-base ability could change his mind. Basically, Eric Wedge will be forced to give more thought to John Jaso. And I think John Jaso is handsome, so, ladies.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you I'm overjoyed about Miguel Olivo's serious injury. I'm not going to sit here and tell you I'm devastated about Miguel Olivo's serious injury. It's bad for him, and one hopes it isn't too bad. But as long as he's out, we might as well focus on the upside. There are upsides here.