BALTIMORE -- Mike Carp had to do some cross-country hustling, but the Mariners first baseman arrived back from California just in time to be in the lineup for Monday's series-opener against the Orioles.
But despite operating on four hours sleep, the 26-year-old was all smiles after spending time with his newborn daughter, Calais, then jetting back to rejoin the team and going 1-for-4 in the Mariners' 3-1 loss at Camden Yards. Carp's single broke up Chris Tillman's no-hit bid in the fifth inning.
"It was tough to leave this morning," said Carp, whose girlfriend gave birth to their 6-pound, 6-ounce daughter on Saturday in Long Beach, Calif., just minutes before he took the field at Yankee Stadium. "I didn't want to let her go, especially when I was talking to her and she was trying to open her eyes.
"I was telling her goodbye and I'll see you in a couple days [when the Mariners play in Anaheim]. We'll get in Thursday morning and I'll have that whole day off and then the whole weekend just to hang out. It'll be awesome."
Carp had the game-winning hit in Saturday's 1-0 victory for Felix Hernandez, then left reporters wondering what was going on when he hustled out of the clubhouse afterward with a quick apology for his abrupt departure. Turns out, he was headed to the airport and a flight home to see his first child.
Carp said the baby wasn't due until Aug. 22, so the timing was a bit of a surprise.
"We were hoping she'd hold out for Anaheim or some stretch when I was on the West Coast," Carp said. "But she wanted to come and there was no stopping her. I got in about 10 o'clock at night and there was no greater feeling in the world. There she was. She's mine. She's a sweetheart already. She's precious."
So will be Carp's time this weekend in Anaheim, which is just 20 minutes from his offseason home in Long Beach.
"There's no greater feeling," Carp said, after proudly showing pictures on his cell phone. "It's something I wasn't expecting, but now I'd never want to take it back."
Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen and his wife are also awaiting the birth of their first daughter, who is expected to arrive any day in Seattle. Wilhelmsen is still with the team on its East Coast trip, awaiting a phone call any time.