Ex-White Sox starter Parque invited to Mariners camp
Parque, 30, will attend major league camp and probably begin the season with Triple-A Tacoma as a starter. "He can build up arm strength and stretch out, and then we'll all figure out how far back he really is," said agent Paul Cohen.
Parque, a left-hander, was a supplemental first-round pick by Chicago out of UCLA in the 1997 draft. He went 13-6 for the White Sox at age 24 and was the starter and loser for Chicago in the opener of the 2000 American League Division Series against Seattle.
Shoulder injuries limited Parque to a 2-8 record with the White Sox and Tampa Bay from 2001-2003, and it appeared that he was finished after he failed to hook on with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004.
"The two years off really helped my shoulder," Parque said. "It feels really good, pain free, and I'm looking forward to getting back on the field."
Parque had been running a baseball academy in Seattle, and several of the high school players urged him to make a comeback after he registered in the upper 80s on the radar gun. Parque held a series of auditions and chose Seattle over Texas and Cincinnati, among other clubs.
Cohen said Parque's contract with Seattle allows him to opt out by the All-Star break if he's not in the major leagues. "If he's pitching well, we don't want him to just be an insurance policy for the rest of the year," Cohen said.
If added to the major league roster, he would get a $450,000. one-year contract and the chance to earn more in performance bonuses.
Jerry Crasnick covers Major League Baseball for ESPN Insider. Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.