Guardado had torn rotator cuff last season

Originally Published: November 2, 2004
Associated Press

SEATTLE -- Mariners closer Eddie Guardado exercised his $4 million player option Tuesday, one day after the team declined its $6 million option.

The injured left-hander could have become a free agent, but instead decided to stay with Seattle.

Eddie Guardado
Relief Pitcher
Seattle Mariners
41 2 2 18 45 2.78

"I understand that they had to make a business decision, but they made it very clear to me that they wanted me back," Guardado said. "I appreciate the way they've always dealt with me."

The 34-year-old Guardado was limited to 41 appearances last season because of injuries. He agreed to a $13 million, three-year contract last December that included team and player options for 2005 and 2006.

"We had to make a decision on his contract, but by no means does that reflect our desire to have him back," general manager Bill Bavasi said. "His rehab has come along very well and he is an important piece for us."

Guardado went 2-2 with a 2.78 ERA and 18 saves before going on the disabled list Aug. 2 because of shoulder fatigue. The injury later was diagnosed as a torn rotator cuff.

He also had arthroscopic surgery Aug. 23 to clean out his left knee, a nagging injury that dated to spring training.

Guardado saved 41 games in 45 chances for Minnesota in 2003 after getting 45 saves in his first year as a full-time closer in 2002.

"I came here to win and that's what I plan on doing," Guardado said. "I appreciate the fans' support and I am looking forward to getting to spring training and getting back on track."

When Guardado joined Seattle as a free agent, he was expected to set up for Kazuhiro Sasaki. Guardado was moved to the closer's role by spring training because Sasaki decided to return to Japan to be with his family.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press