- Gordon Edes, ESPN Staff Writer
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Mike Carp's parents live in Victorville, Calif., at the southwestern edge of the Mojave Desert.
On the day he learned he had been traded to the Boston Red Sox, the last thing Carp expected to see were the photos his parents sent him.
“Snow in the desert,’’ he said. “They were making snowmen at 2, 3 in the morning.’’
We get our share of nor’easters, but it was freak weather in the west -- torrential rains on the California coast, snow in Arizona and Texas and yes, in the California desert -- that delayed Carp’s arrival here.
“I should have known,’’ Carp said here Friday morning. “It took me just 10 minutes to get through security at the airport, then found out we had a two-hour delay.’’
Carp is hopeful the trip here will prove worth making. One thing he said he knew for certain is that he wasn’t going to get much of a chance to make his former team, the Seattle Mariners, who in the offseason had loaded up on players that fit his profile: left-handed bats who could play first base or the outfield.
Carp’s chances of making an impact in Seattle might have ended last spring in Japan, when he sprained his right shoulder making a diving catch against Oakland in the season opener for both teams. The injury sent him to the DL twice, costing him much of the season.
“You have 55,000 people over in Japan. I’m not coming out of that game,” Carp said Friday morning. “It’s the first game of the season. I’ve waited my whole life to make an Opening Day roster.”
He would lose another 20 games to a groin strain, and batted just .213 with 5 home runs in the 59 games he did play. The Mariners, starved for offense, decided to move on. Carp was designated for assignment, after spending some time as the Mariners’ cleanup hitter in 2011, when he hit 12 home runs, none shorter than 385 feet.
“When you play in Safeco,’’ he said, “you’ve got to make sure you hit ‘em.’’
The deal with the Red Sox came just a couple of days after Carp’s agent, Tom O’Connell, showed up in camp here and spoke with Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington.
“My agent is a big part of me being here,’’ Carp said.
Carp was halfway through his physical when he spoke with reporters. He had yet to speak with Cherington, so he was unclear about exactly how he would be used. Carp has played 82 games at first base in the big leagues, 53 in the outfield. He will wear No. 38, which was last used by Curt Schilling.
“I had a lot of expectations coming into last year,” Carp said. “I’m excited to be healthy for a full season, and glad to have an opportunity here.’’