Olivo runs through gamut of emotionsNew Seattle catcher is pulling for his former team

Originally Published: June 28, 2004
Associated Press

SEATTLE -- Upset after being traded by the Chicago White Sox to the Seattle Mariners, Miguel Olivo reported to his new team on Monday with a smile and nothing bad to say about his former team.

"Yesterday was sad for me, but I feel comfortable here already," the young catcher said. "Everybody here has been great to me."

Olivo, 25, was so disturbed on Sunday when he found out about his trade to the Mariners in a deal that sent two-time All-Star Freddy Garcia to the White Sox that he didn't talk to the Chicago media. He admitted on Monday he broke down and cried after he was told about the trade by White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.

But a day later, Olivo was in Seattle, working out and using the bat of No. 1 Mariners catcher Dan Wilson.

"I'm not mad at the White Sox," Olivo said. "I was just real sad to leave all my friends. They were like my family. Now I have to find new friends. Everything is going to be OK."

Olivo was hitting .270 with seven homers and 25 RBIs in 45 games with the White Sox.

"I want to play baseball," he said.

Besides Garcia, the Mariners sent catcher Ben Davis, who was playing at Triple-A Tacoma, to Chicago. They also received minor league prospects Jeremy Reed and Michael Morse in the deal.

Olivo was swapped from a team that is contending for the AL Central title with Minnesota to the Mariners, buried in last place in the AL West, but he said he's not angry about that.

Instead, he's looking at the move as an opportunity for more playing time.

"I play there like two days a week," he said. "Now, maybe I can play more games."

Manager Bob Melvin was happy to see Olivo in the locker room when he arrived at Safeco Field and said he'd have him in the lineup against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night. But he wouldn't say how he will divide the playing time between Olivo and Wilson, 35.

"He'll get his fair share of playing time," Melvin said. "I don't think there's any question about that. We'll just see how it goes."

Olivo said the White Sox player he'll miss the most is veteran right-hander Esteban Loaiza. He said he regarded Loaiza "like my dad."

He's rooting for the White Sox to win their division with the help of Garcia.

"They look good," Olivo said. "They have a very good team over there. I think they're going to make it. If they win, they win. I'll be happy for them."

The Mariners will start rookie left-hander Matt Thornton on Thursday afternoon against the Rangers in Garcia's place, Melvin said.

Thornton, 27, made his major league debut Sunday and pitched four shutout innings in a 5-1 loss to San Diego. He was the Mariners' first-round draft selection in June 1998.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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