By Kirby Arnold Herald Writer
PEORIA, Ariz. — The Seattle Mariners aren’t calling it a setback, but pitcher Erik Bedard won’t throw from a mound today as planned.
Bedard, whose progress from shoulder surgery last August has been impressive, has developed some stiffness in his left arm, manager Don Wakamatsu said.
“The other day he had a little bit of stiffness. More like a tire arm,” Wakamatsu said. “He’s been throwing quite a bit in his long-toss program. He felt it two days ago, so we’re going to be cautious about it. But I think we’re in good shape.”
The Mariners insist Bedard hasn’t suffered a setback; only that they’re being cautious and that his recovery still remains ahead of the 10-12 month timetable that’s typical of such an injury. Bedard had surgery Aug. 14 to fix a torn labrum in the shoulder.
“He’s so far ahead of where he was supposed to be,” Mariners trainer Rick Griffin said. “We’re only at seven months. What we’re trying to do is make sure we don’t have any setbacks.”
Griffin said Bedard would continue to long-toss and throw pitches off flat ground.
Bedard’s recovery had gone so smoothly through the winter that the Mariners, after signing him, had him continue his throwing program in Arizona.
The July return estimate was pushed up to as early as mid-May, although Bedard wasn’t expected to throw from a mound until after the Mariners broke from spring training on April 1. That’s why it seemed significant a couple of weeks ago when the Mariners said Bedard would throw from a mound today.
With any pitcher, nothing is certain when it comes to rehab because of the tweaks and twinges, not to mention full-fledged setbacks, that are common after arm injuries. Bedard’s recovery has gone better than expected and without any problem that would cause the team to shut him down, and the Mariners want to keep it that way.
That’s why he will continue to long-toss — playing catch from about 120 feet — and throw what Griffin calls flat-ground bullpens — pitching to a catcher but doing it on flat ground and not from mound.
Hannahan to miss start of season
Wakamatsu confirmed Monday what had become more obvious as the end of spring training nears, that utility player Jack Hannahan won’t be ready for the season opener two weeks from today because of his bad right groin.
Hannahan injured it in the second exhibition game March 4 and, while it improved enough for him to run lightly and field ground balls Monday morning, the team wonders why he’s not further along. So, the Mariners are sending Hannahan back to Seattle for more tests.
“It’s been kind of a lingering thing, so we’re going to check him out and see if there’s not something more serious in there,” Wakamatsu said. “He just didn’t feel like he was 100 percent, and we felt he would be more advanced than that.”
Sloppiness, but positives, in loss
The Mariners looked sloppy at times in their 7-2 loss to the Oakland A’s, but there also were enough good elements to the game that Wakamatsu was encouraged.
Starting pitcher Ian Snell gave up seven hits and six earned runs in four innings, struggling especially in the A’s five-run second inning when he left too many pitches up in the strike zone. The good from that? Snell eventually did dial it down, finished with 73 pitches and didn’t walk anyone. In fact, none of the Mariners’ four pitchers issued a walk.
Snell, in his first Arizona spring training after being with the Pirates in Florida, is fast learning about slick baseballs because of the dry desert air. He struggled to get a good bite with his slider.
“I didn’t have my breaking ball and when you are stuck with two pitches you are going to get hurt,” Snell said. “I am not Felix.”
The Mariners ran into two outs on the bases, only one they truly could blame on themselves.
Ichiro Suzuki was the victim of an overly watered infield (the Mariners insisted earlier this month that the Peoria Stadium grounds crew soften the dirt after a series of bad hops because it had become so hard) when he slipped, fell awkwardly and was tagged out after rounding first base in the first inning. When Suzuki got back to the dugout, teammates chided him for the amount of mud on his hands and uniform.
Catcher Rob Johnson had no such excuse in the third when he rounded the bag too far and was trapped in a rundown. That kind of thing can’t happen in the regular season, but the positive was that Johnson had no problems running the bases on his two surgically repaired hips. Wakamatsu said Johnson would catch back-to-back games later this week for the first time.
Reliever Mark Lowe worked another efficient inning in what’s been a solid spring training, needing nine pitches (six for strikes) to get through a 1-2-3 fifth. His goal this year is to complete his inning-a-day of work in 15 pitches or less.
And Milton Bradley made his presence felt without doing anything to rile an umpire. He dropped a bunt single in the second inning, and Wakamatsu loved it.
“I was pleased just for the fact that we’re playing Oakland,” Wakamastsu said. “Now they’ve got to honor that. I really liked it. He had the stolen base (Sunday) against Anaheim. He’s doing some things to plant some seeds and that’s fine.”
Today in camp
The Mariners play their second game in three days against the division-rival Angels, at 1:05 p.m. (on ESPN 710 AM radio). Left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith will start for the Mariners, with right-handers Shawn Kelley, Kanekoa Texeira and Jesus Colome also scheduled to pitch. Right-hander Ervin Santana will start for the Angels.
Pitcher Cliff Lee is scheduled to play catch this morning in what will be a good measure of the severity of his lower right abdomen strain. … Pitcher Doug Fister also is scheduled to play catch today, although Griffin said he still had considerable fluid in his right forearm. He was hit there by a line drive Friday. … Garrett Olson played catch Monday and had no problems five days after he hurt his left ring finger when a grounder hit it during a fielding drill.
Read Kirby Arnold’s blog on the Mariners at www.heraldnet.com/marinersblog