The baseball strike isn’t all bad. Not for Lynn Lovullo, the wife of Seattle Mariner infielder Torey Lovullo.
“I’m very happy,” she said. “We have a 9-month-old son that (Torey) hasn’t been able to spend that much time with during the season. They are getting reacquainted. I’m really happy he’s home.”
Lovullo is home in Northridge, thanks to the eighth work stoppage in major league baseball in the past 22 years. The strike, which has no end in sight, has turned out to be a vacation Lovullo didn’t ask for, but one he needed.
“I’ve just been enjoying my time off,” Lovullo said, “spending some time with my son and my wife. It’s been a pretty long year for me, a bumpy road.”
Lovullo’s season seemed over before it started when the Angels released him during spring training.
Days later, he signed with the Mariners, who have called him up from triple-A Calgary for three stints in the majors.
“It’s been a difficult season for me traveling-wise,” Lovullo said. “That’s why I welcome the little break no matter how long it might be.”
Had Lovullo not been called up to the Mariners 10 days before the strike began Aug. 12, he might still be playing in the Pacific Coast League, rather than playing with his son, Nicky.
While Lovullo, 29, is happy to be home with his son and wife of six years, the Montclair Prep graduate is frustrated that the break comes at the expense of his development as a player.
Lovullo has played in the Detroit Tiger, New York Yankee, Angel and Mariner organizations since he was drafted out of UCLA in 1987.
“I, of course, wish I was playing and improving my game right now,” he said, “but that’s just not in the cards. Unfortunately, I did get called up and I’m on strike.”
Lovullo said he does not plan to take batting practice during the strike, because he expects to have a few days between a settlement and the resumption of play to get his timing back.
His only brush with baseball since the strike began has been “playing catch” at a park in Northridge with Kansas City Royal pitchers Mark Gubicza and Mike Magnante, who live near Lovullo. Gubicza has since returned to Kansas City, Lovullo said.
“I’m just going to try to keep my arm in shape and keep my legs in shape,” Lovullo said.
“If you don’t throw for a while, it’s like starting all over again.”
Lovullo added that, although he is enjoying the time with his family, he would like to be on the field.
“You get anxious any time you’re missing something you love to do,” he said.
“I love to play baseball. I’m sure I’ll get anxious in the next couple weeks because of the simple fact I love the game and want to get out there.”
Lovullo signed a guaranteed contract with the Mariners for $165,000, meaning he is losing $901.64 a day during the strike.
“I’m a union guy and I support what’s going on,” he said. “But I wish the fans would understand more of the issues. They want to single out the players, but there is a very good reason we are on strike right now.”
The players went on strike primarily to protest the owners’ insistence on installing a salary cap.
Negotiations between the sides have been infrequent in the first two weeks of the strike, and Lovullo said he has no idea when the matter might be resolved.
“I hear exactly what you hear,” he said. “I try to remove myself from it as much as possible and not really get wrapped up in it. I just try to see what’s happening on the 11 o’clock news.”