Mariners Pounce On Two-Sport Standout Kivlehan





SEATTLE—It took four years for Patrick Kivlehan to get back to baseball. Now that he has returned, he's not giving it up.

Kivlehan, the Mariners' fourth-round pick in the draft, gave up baseball at Rutgers while he played four years of football as a safety for the Scarlet Knights. He says he kept kidding his teammates that he was really a baseball player in disguise.

It turns out he wasn't kidding. After completing his football eligibility, the 6-foot-2 third baseman returned to baseball and became the Big East Conference player of the year. Kivlehan, who was also the New Jersey College Baseball Association player of the year, hit .392 for Rutgers with 14 homers and 50 RBIs, nailing down the Big East triple crown.

On June 9, he became the first Mariner draftee to sign. It was an easy call, one because he was out of eligibility, and two because he is back playing a sport he never wanted to give up.

"I always missed baseball each spring," Kivlehan said. "But once I made the commitment to football out of high school, I had to see it through. I could have done a pro day (for NFL scouts), but it wouldn't have been anything serious."

Mariner scouting boss Tom McNamara said that the club was looking at some other Big East talent when Kivlehan first crossed their radar.

"I saw him once, and I told our scouts we needed to see him some more," McNamara said. "I wound up seeing him twice, but we were impressed.

"You have to think what kind of upside the kid could have, as good as he was playing after being out all that time. If he is focused and put all his eggs in one basket and just focused on baseball, we could have something special."

And that's Kivlehan's plan. He visited the Mariners the weekend of June 8-10, met with players and staff,, took his physical and signed his contract.

"It took some getting used to, playing baseball again after all that time playing football," Kivlehan said. "I don't want to be known as a football player trying to play baseball. I want to be a baseball player."

Marinade

• Triple-A Tacoma righthander Forrest Snow has been moved from the rotation to the bullpen. The Mariners think Snow's future in the big leagues might be as a reliever.

• Last year's No. 2 overall pick in the draft, lefthander Danny Hultzen, was promoted to Tacoma. After giving up five runs in his first four innings this year for Double-A Jackson, he allowed just five earned runs in his next 66 innings. During that stretch, opponents were batting .142 against him.