Kawasaki in unlikely role as emergency catcher

Kawasaki in unlikely role as emergency catcher

SEATTLE -- At 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, Munenori Kawasaki is a pretty unlikely looking character when he straps on the catching gear. But the Mariners utility infielder continues getting some pregame bullpen work behind the plate in case he's ever needed as an emergency catcher.

When starter Miguel Olivo went on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a strained groin, the Mariners opted to stick with just rookie Jesus Montero and veteran John Jaso as their two catchers until Olivo's return.

Enter Kawasaki, who was "volunteered" by manager Eric Wedge to try his hand behind the plate.

"He's catching a bullpen as we speak. I hope he survives it," Wedge said while meeting with the media prior to Sunday's game against the Twins. "It's just where we are. Especially yesterday and today, when you've got your two catchers playing, plus the fact you're going to have to pinch-run for Montero late in ballgames, then you're really up against it.

"We just need to have someone who can at least defend themselves out there in that situation," Wedge said, rapping his knuckles on his wood desk. "Hopefully we don't need it."

Kawasaki's greatest attribute?

"He'll be full of energy back there, no doubt about that," Wedge said with a chuckle.