When the same number came up a fourth time, one right after the other, he figured he'd better pick up.
It was fortunate that he did answer, because it wasn't a call, it was the call, with Triple-A Reno manager Brett Butler on the other end letting Mulvey know he was being called up to the big leagues.
"Glad I answered that one," Mulvey said.
A starter with Reno, Mulvey was slated to start Thursday's game for the Aces, but instead, he will find himself initially in the Arizona bullpen. With a taxed group of relievers, the D-backs wanted to add someone like Mulvey, who could pitch multiple innings if needed.
Mulvey arrived in Chicago very early Thursday morning. It capped a busy couple of days for him. He had taken a red-eye flight from Reno to New Jersey on Tuesday to visit his girlfriend. Flight delays kept him from arriving in New Jersey on time, and then he got the call from Butler, so he spent only 18 hours there.
In four starts for Reno, he was 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA.
"I've been throwing the ball well," Mulvey said. "I haven't been walking many guys. That's what I was trying to do, throw strikes down in the zone and get ground-ball outs. Hopefully I can continue to do that up here."
Mulvey is a candidate to take over injured righty Kris Benson's spot in the rotation, which comes up again Monday, depending on how much he is needed in the bullpen beforehand.