Nelson on DL twice last season

Updated: January 31, 2005, 6:24 PM ET
Associated Press

SEATTLE -- Jeff Nelson joined the Seattle Mariners for the third time, agreeing Monday to a minor league contract.

Jeff Nelson
Relief Pitcher
Texas Rangers
29 1 2 1 22 5.32

The 38-year-old right-hander, who pitched for Seattle from 1992-95 and 2001-03, apologized Sunday for criticizing the team 1½ years ago, before he was traded to the New York Yankees.

"The whole hurdle was to get things the way they used to be. It was a big deal for me to do that," Nelson said. "The year and a half since it happened has weighed heavy on my heart and mind."

At the time of the criticism, Nelson was angry the Mariners didn't make any major moves at the trade deadline. Nelson met Sunday with Mariners president Chuck Armstrong and general manager Bill Bavasi, then met Monday with team chairman Howard Lincoln.

"I went to their office to say that I was truly sorry and to make sure they knew that," Nelson said. "They were very receptive and very happy to hear the things I had to say."

Nelson, who lives in the Seattle area during the offseason, said he struggled to get motivated during the offseason and was considering retirement if he could not find the right team and situation. He said the New York Mets showed interest.

"The teams interested weren't very appealing to me," Nelson said. "This is one of the places I get motivated to play easily."

Nelson holds the Seattle record for games pitched with 383 and has a 23-20 record with the Mariners.

"I grew up and went through the downs and ups this organization has felt," Nelson said. "I had some great times in New York, but this is my first love."

An All-Star for Seattle in 2001, Nelson is 47-41 overall in 690 major league games. He was 1-2 with a 5.32 ERA for Texas in 29 games last season, going on the disabled list twice due to injuries to his right knee and right elbow.

Nelson is a slider specialist but struggled with control last year. Left-handed batters hit .167 against Nelson last season and right-handers .224.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press