He pitched the ninth inning Sunday, allowing a hit but getting a game-ending double play for his 25th save this season. It was Aardsma's first save since he suffered bruised ribs Aug. 19 at Baltimore, when he was hit by a line drive on the final play of that game.
"The problem is that it hit right where the ribs connect to the muscle," Aardsma said. "It's one of those things that would take a little time. We gave it some time and it's good."
Aardsma didn't pitch again until Friday, when he worked a scoreless inning in a non-save situation.
Despite the layoff, Aardsma has continued a strong stretch of relief since the All-Star break. He has a 1.13 earned run average in 16 innings since July 11.
A big factor is the breaking pitch he has added to his fastball-splitter repertoire, along with his emphasis on throwing first-pitch strikes.
"Before, going out there with one pitch, a lot of times it would work but guys were starting to catch up to it," he said. "So I had to make some changes, throw some more pitches and it's been working out. You can't just go out there and throw fastball-split."
Saunders also on the mend
Outfielder Michael Saunders hit off a tee Sunday morning to test his bruised right shoulder and will take batting practice today before the Mariners decide if he's ready to play.
Saunders hurt the shoulder Aug. 5 when he crashed into the left-field wall, and after the pain didn't go away a magnetic resonance imaging exam on Thursday showed that the shoulder was bruised.
"He'll be a possibility (to play tonight) depending on how he feels," Brown said. "We expect him to be OK."
Including Luke French on Sunday, Mariners starters have pitched 30 games this season when they've gone at least seven innings and allowed one run or less, best in the American League and third-best in the major leagues. The Mariners are 24-6 in those games. Franklin Gutierrez recorded his 32nd multi-hit game this season. Ichiro Suzuki went hitless for the second straight game and remained 35 hits from 200 for the season. He has 32 games to do it. Over his last 19 appearances, reliever Brandon League is 3-0 with a 0.38 ERA.
Opponent: L.A. Angels
When: 7:10 p.m. today, Tuesday and Wednesday
Where: Safeco Field
TV: FSN, all three games
Radio: ESPN 710 AM, all three games
Pitchers: Today -- Seattle right-hander David Pauley (2-5, 4.02 earned run average) vs. right-hander Ervin Santana (13-9, 4.13). Tuesday -- Right-hander Felix Hernandez (10-10, 2.47) vs. right-hander Dan Haren (2-4, 4.02). Wednesday -- Left-hander Jason Vargas (9-7, 3.53) vs. TBA.
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