Pitcher Bobby Madritsch tight-lipped about trouble in Chicago, still hasn't met his mother.

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PEORIA, Ariz. — Some day, Bobby Madritsch hopes to make his mark with 20 wins, but his only current claim to fame in a Mariners clubhouse jammed with pitching prospects is 20 marks on his body.


“I got a new tattoo for Chicago yesterday,” said the left-hander, who made a strong first impression last season. “That gives me 20.”

He lifted his shirt to show he has inked/linked both sides of his heritage.


A “Chi Town” in italics 2 inches high glistened on Madritsch’s lower back, for the city where he was raised by his father.

He then exhibited his right arm, where he now has a wolf’s head on the biceps and huge wolf’s paw print climbing his shoulder, adding to his tribute to his mother, a Lakota Sioux.


Madritsch made his major-league debut last July, and pitched his way into the Mariners’ rotation, finishing 6-3 with a 3.27 earned-run average. At the end of the season, he had plans to establish a relationship with his mother, Glenda, who left the family in 1976, when Bobby was still a baby, only 2 months old.

He never did make the visit. Like another plan to have them meet in Texas last season, it didn’t happen.


The Texas meeting was called off because Madritsch was focused on pitching and hesitant to have anything break into his efforts to make a strong rookie impression.

The offseason get-together also did not happen. Speaking about it, Madritsch’s smile faded and his mood turned somber as he admitted, “I never did get to go see my mom. There are too many things going on right now. I can’t handle the people who are in my life. I feel I can’t have anyone come into my life.”


Madritsch tracked down his mother’s whereabouts, with the help of Mariners fans, to a Sioux reservation in Oklahoma but backed off his intention of meeting her in the offseason.

“I realized I couldn’t give her the time she deserves,” said Madritsch, who will turn 29 on Feb. 28. “I do want to have her back in my life, I really do. But when I do, I want it to be right, for both of us.”


Madritsch did travel to Oklahoma in October, and took part in a two-day baseball clinic held for Native American kids.

“It was great, it was fun working with the kids,” he said. “They looked up to me as a pro ballplayer … at least, I think they did.”


Glenda Madritsch — Bobby said she still uses the family name — is also in his future.

“I still want to talk to her, just not now,” he said. “We have some issues to be resolved, but I think they can be settled and we’ll be all right.


“It’s just the way I feel right now. I had personal reasons, stuff going on … things aren’t going too good.”

Usually open about himself and his life, which was not easy growing up on Chicago’s south side, the youngest of Ken Madritsch and Glenda’s three children was reluctant to go into details of what was troubling him.


“My sister and brother are doing OK,” he said. “My dad is doing all right, too. It’s a family thing, though.”

After last season, Madritsch stayed in Tacoma until the start of December, when he returned to be with his family in Chicago.


“It was very different than I thought it was going to be, tougher, very tough, tough to deal with,” he said. “It was disappointing, upsetting. I lost my appetite, had trouble sleeping.”

He felt at times he had “no one to talk to … and that makes it tough, too.”


Now, back in camp, back in the baseball world, he has to regain his focus.

“So many people have told me to leave that stuff in Chicago,” he said. “But that’s tough to do, especially when it’s family, to leave everything behind. I just don’t know what they expect from me. But I do know I have to focus here.”


Madritsch did get one thing to laugh about on his first day. As he mopped his sweat after he ran on the treadmill, Chris Peterson, one of the team doctors, kidded, “Your new tattoo on your back ran. It now says, “hi Town.”

Bob Finnigan: 206-464-8276 or bfinnigan@seattletimes.com