By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — Stephen Pryor is on the mend.
The Seattle Mariners relief pitcher has been on the shelf since April, but he’s making progress toward a return, and he passed his latest test with a successful bullpen session with the Everett AquaSox on Saturday afternoon.
Pryor, who’s been sidelined because of a torn latissimus dorsi muscle in his right (throwing) shoulder, threw 30 pitches in the Everett Memorial Stadium bullpen several hours prior to Everett’s game Saturday against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. Afterward Pryor, who played for the Sox on the way up in 2010, gave himself the thumbs up.
“It went well,” Pryor said. “The arm’s feeling good. I think we’re on pace of where we want to be. It’s just a matter of continuing to get ready for games.”
Pryor, a flamethrowing right-hander, was set to be a key member of Seattle’s bullpen this season after making him major-league debut in 2012. He was unscored upon in his first seven appearances with the Mariners, allowing just three hits and a walk in 71/3 innings while striking out seven.
However, Pryor made his final appearance with Seattle on April 14 and was placed on the 15-day disabled list the following day with the torn lat muscle. He was transferred to the 60-day disabled list on May 17, thus clearing up a spot on Seattle’s 40-man roster.
In Saturday’s session, Pryor used his full repertoire, throwing primarily fastballs but also mixing in the occasional curve and change. Pryor said it was his fourth or fifth time throwing off the mound and added he expects to be ready to return to game action soon.
“(The lat muscle) feels good,” Pryor said. “The healing has taken place. Now it’s just getting back into game shape.
“Hopefully in a week or two I can start getting into games, then kind of see where it goes from there.”
Pryor began his professional career in Everett in 2010. He was selected by Seattle in the fifth round of the 2010 draft out of Tennessee Tech, and he immediately dominated the Northwest League. In 11 relief appearances with the Sox, he allowed just one run for a 0.49 ERA.
In 181/3 innings, he allowed seven hits and seven walks, struck out 26 and racked up four saves. He was promoted to Clinton of the mid-Class A Midwest League midseason.
Pryor raced through the Mariners minor-league system, reaching the Mariners in June of 2012. He made 26 appearances with Seattle last season, going 3-1 with a 3.91 ERA. In 23 innings, he gave up 22 hits, walked 13 and struck out 27.