BY John Hickey 01:45PM 03/06/2011

Olivo optimistic lost time won’t be long

The face plant looked funny Saturday, but it probably saved further injury as Mariners catcher says he plans to be ready for opening day.

Mariners catcher Miguel Olivo will need a week or two of rest after groin injury / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

PEORIA, AZ. – Miguel Olivo went down in a heap at home plate Saturday, the pain in his left leg such that “I didn’t want to keep running,’’ he said.

Sunday saw no running for Olivo in the Seattle Mariners’ spring training camp, and there won’t be any at all this week.

Even so, the injury may not be as bad as it first appeared when Olivo did a face plant on home plate in Peoria Stadium in the second inning of a game against the Cleveland Indians.

“From yesterday to today, I didn’t think I’d be walking, but I’m walking OK,’’ Olivo said Sunday morning after returning to the Mariner complex following an MRI of his left leg. “Walking is fine. When I move the leg side-to-side, I feel it.’’

There was no radiologist available Sunday to interpret the MRI, so that will have to wait until Bonday. But the smile had returned to Olivo’s face as he soaked in the thought that he won’t be missing too much time.

Asked if he would be ready to play opening day, he broke out his smile and said, “I know I’m going to be there.’’

Since the Mariners won’t have a medical diagnosis until at least Monday, Olivo said the initial plan for him calls for one to two weeks of rest before he begins riding a stationary bike and doing pool work. He has about  four weeks to get healthy if he’s going to start the season on the active roster.

Olivo said Saturday “was the best day I felt all spring’’ before he tried to tag up and score on a sacrifice fly in the second inning. The ball was hit deep enough that there was no throw to the plate, so he wasn’t running full-out, but he was coming hard enough that the leg muscle rebelled.

Rather than easing up, Olivo opted to take a tumble.

“I just dropped,’’ he said. “I didn’t want to keep pushing. Things happen. I know I’ll be back soon because I like to work hard. When you work hard, things get better. The doctor said he was glad I did that because if I’d kept running, it would have been worse.

“This is the first time I’ve had any injury. I’m not going to be like a little baby. I’m not going to do that babysitting thing. I’ll work hard and follow the doctor’s plan with one week’s rest and then we’ll see.’’

Josh Bard was in the lineup Sunday against the Giants in Scottsdale, and he and Adam Moore figure to get most of the at-bats that Olivo will now miss.

Manager Eric Wedge said the club would wake a wait-and-see attitude toward Olivo’s return.

“He felt better last night and better again this morning,’’ Wedge said. “That’s good.’’

NOTES: It wasn’t a good day Sunday for left-handed pitcher Nate Robertson, who is hoping to make the club as one of the five starters. He had a 1-2-3 first inning, then gave up four hits, two walks and four runs in innings Nos.2 and 3 of a game the Mariners lost to the Giants in Scottsdale, 6-1. “From the second inning on, I had trouble finishing off a couple of pitches,’’ Robertson said. “And there is no excuse to walk those guys.’’ On the plus side, Robertson said he arm feels “great,’’ his legs feel “good,’’ and he feels capable of winning a job. “(Other pitchers) have more leeway coming off the years they had here last year. This is the time I need to make an impression.’’ Robertson made a nice showing with two shutout innings in his first start, so he’s 1-for-2 in making good impressions. “He had good stuff,’’ Wedge said. “He just didn’t finish off a few pitches. (But) the ball moved.’’ … 1B Justin Smoak made a leaping catch in the second inning that he turned into a double play, limiting San Francisco’s output that inning to just one run. “That was a helluva play, because that ball was smoked, no pun intended,’’ Wedge said. “It was a nice jump and immediate reaction.’’ … Ryan Langerhans had two of Seattle’s six hits, and his opposite-field double in the sixth inning drove in the Mariners’ only run. … The Mariners didn’t bring their “A’’ lineup, leaving Saturday’s top three hitters – Ichiro Suzuki, Chone Figgins and Franklin Gutierrez – back in Peoria, but they have yet to prove they can score consistently with any lineup. Seattle scored three or more runs in each of the first four games of the Cactus League season, but they have scored exactly one run in three of their last four games, all losses. After scoring 19 runs in the first two games, Seattle has scored 18 runs in its next six games. … Rookie second baseman Dustin Ackley, who was converted to second base last year, made a throwing error past first base in the sixth inning, his first of the spring. “It was a tough play,’’ Wedge said. “That’s a play he’ll make in time. We need to get him out there enough to give him the reps. It’s tough to duplicate that play (in practice).’’ … Ackley’s error and a walk put reliever Brandon League in a two-on, none-out hole in the sixth, but he rebounded with a strikeout, fly out and grounder to get his first scoreless inning of the spring.


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