Miguel Olivo starts his comeback slowly
Injured catcher takes some swings as does a light workout
Seattle Times staff reporter
Miguel Olivo took about 30 swings in a batting cage, ran on a treadmill for 10 minutes and did some throwing from a 90-foot distance Monday as he works back from a groin strain.
The injured Mariners catcher still will have to do some blocking drills in a few days from now before he can start to hope to return to action. His earliest possible return would be May 16 and he'll stay behind in Seattle for at least the first part of the team's upcoming road trip.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said Olivo could catch a bullpen session or two at some point on the trip if he keeps improving.
While Olivo was in his dugout watching batting practice, Tigers manager Jim Leyland walked over to say hello and ask how he was doing. Olivo told him about his groin.
"I'll be back soon," Olivo told him.
"Not against us, right?" Leyland asked.
"No, you'll miss me."
The pair chatted a few more moments before Leyland left. What made the exchange interesting is that Olivo has never played for Leyland, one of the deans of baseball managers.
"Whenever we play them, he's always come over to say hello to me," Olivo said. "I don't know why. He just always has."
Prior on the move
The Mariners made an interesting minor-league roster move Monday, promoting relief pitcher Stephen Prior to Class AAA. Prior had 24 strikeouts in 16 innings for AA Jackson, posting a 1.12 earned-run average in 11 outings.
Prior could be a midsummer addition for the Mariners in the event they need bullpen help. He also could be added if the Mariners decide to move closer Brandon League before the July trade deadline.
Tom Wilhelmsen is seen as the heir to League, but the rest of the bullpen has looked shaky at times.
• The Mariners entered play Monday sitting fourth in the majors with 52 doubles, trailing only Boston, Kansas City and Baltimore. They were 26th in the majors last season. Michael Saunders, Kyle Seager and Dustin Ackley are on pace for at least 35 doubles apiece. The Mariners haven't had three players with 35 doubles since Raul Ibanez (43), Jose Lopez (41) and Yuniesky Betancourt (36) in 2008.
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or email@example.com.