New York (73-41) at Seattle (43-71)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Seattle, WA
Temp: 68° F
  • Game info: 10:05 pm EDT Fri Aug 13, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

John Olerud left Seattle as a struggling member of the worst team in the AL West. He’ll return as a solid contributor for the league-leading New York Yankees this weekend.

Olerud will visit Safeco Field for the first time since his unceremonious release last month as the Yankees open a three-game series with the Mariners.

Olerud, a Mariner since 2000, turned down a trade to San Francisco earlier this year, and was let go by Seattle in mid-July. A career .295 hitter, Olerud was batting just .245 with five homers and 22 RBIs in 78 games with the Mariners.

The Yankees, desperate for help at first base with Jason Giambi struggling through an internal parasite and benign tumor, picked Olerud up on Aug. 3. Despite sitting out for nearly three weeks, the 36-year-old Olerud has fit right in with the defending AL champions, hitting .360 (10-for-29) with nine RBIs in eight games.

He hit a solo homer in Thursday’s 5-4 win over Texas, helping New York to its seventh victory in eight games.

Seattle manager Bob Melvin expects Olerud to get a warm reception from Seattle fans when he returns this weekend.

“He’s given them a boost with Giambi out,” Melvin said. “We all knew John’s got some game left, but we’re kind of on a course here where we’re trying to find out about some other people and it just wasn’t in the plans. That doesn’t mean we’re not pulling for him.”

Miguel Cairo hit a grand slam and Orlando Hernandez won his fifth straight decision Thursday as the Yankees maintained a 9 1/2 -game lead over second-place Boston in the AL East.

Bret Boone belted a two-run homer to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 16 games Thursday, but the Mariners were unable to complete a three-game sweep of AL Central-leading Minnesota, suffering a 6-3 loss.

The Mariners had won three of four.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Lieber ChC vs. R. Villone Was
14-8 Record 8-6
4.33 ERA 4.08
102 K 86
18 BB 64
1.32 WHIP 1.42