New Mariners pitcher Arquimedes Caminero talks about his late start in baseball, unique name
OAKLAND – I was a guest on “Brock and Salk” Friday morning, and one of the questions I was asked was “Who is Arquimedes Caminero?”
As the new Mariners reliever had been in the clubhouse for just three days at that point, it was too soon to say anything other than he was a guy who threw 100 mph, seemed like he would never say no to taking the ball and was excited to be with the team. I saw him get on the team bus and fist bump everyone when we left for this road trip, which seemed like a good sign, but I didn’t know a lot about him beyond his Baseball Reference page.
I set out to remedy that Friday afternoon, and I sat him down for a get-to-know-you interview for the pregame show.
One of the things that jumped out at me when I did what research I could (and there really wasn’t much out there in the form of prior interviews that I could find) was that it appeared he got a little bit of a late start in baseball, signing out of the Dominican Republic when he was almost 18, and he turned 19 in his first year of organizational ball for the then-Florida Marlins.
“I had a little bit of a later start to baseball,” he confirmed. “I didn’t start playing until I was 15. I played basketball at my school.”
He played some baseball growing up in Santo Domingo, but just for fun.
“I had a baseball field next to my house. I learned to play very young but I played maybe once a month. Basketball was my thing. In school, the streets, I played everywhere.”
If you have visions of a 15-year-old Caminero firing 100 mph fastballs on that field, think again.
“I used to play everywhere,” he said. “Pitch, catch, first base, shortstop, outfield, anywhere. It was fun. It was for kids, but we used to play everything else too at the same field. Football soccer, American football, cricket, a lot of sports. I know how to play everything.”
The early experience has helped in his conditioning with the rest of the Mariners relievers, who hold daily competitions catching Nerf footballs one-handed in the outfield. Other than having to adjust to a different ball, Caminero appears to have already mastered the skill. He is also excited about the upcoming M’s Olympics.
“I have a pool table at my house, I am going to play pool in the M’s Olympics,” he said adding with a laugh, “It’s fun to be here.”
Fun after an eight-year climb through the minors in the Marlins organization before finally making his MLB debut in 2013. Considering he signed after only two years of playing full-time, it was clear he would be a work in progress.
“When I started playing baseball I felt that I wanted to throw hard but I couldn’t, but I kept trying and trying and one day it came out that way and from then I have been throwing hard,” he said. “It didn’t come easy, it was tough. I had to work hard and go through a lot of stuff but when it came I appreciated it and I kept working to maintain my velocity and strike zone, but it was a lot of work.”
The scout that originally signed him with the Marlins went on to become an executive with the Pirates, who purchased his contract in the winter of 2015. He was pitching well in his tenure in Pittsburgh but it appears the Pirates wanted more roster flexibility – he is out of minor-league options – and made him available for the waiver trade that brought him to Seattle last week.
While it has been a whirlwind week, Caminero is happy to be with the Mariners.
“I was happy that I got here. The team has been playing great, we have been winning some games,” he said. “I told the pitching coach as long as I am healthy I can throw every day. I will give my 100 percent to this team.”
It would appear we have seen that in his first week. To end the interview I had to ask about his unique full name: Arquimedes Euclides Caminero.
“My dad got it from the algebra, both of them,” said Caminero.
So is he good at math?
“I used to be,” he said. “I don’t know about now, it’s been a while, but I started first grade when I was four.”
So can I throw equations at him later in the season?
“I would say baseball is the shortest career so maybe after baseball,” he answered with a laugh.