PEORIA, Ariz. – Erik Bedard asked the Seattle Mariners not to mention tentative plans to throw from the mound for the first time, and on Monday his concerns seemed prophetic.
“It was something we hoped to do, but I thought if we talked about it and it didn’t happen, people would think it was a setback,” Bedard said.
Well, the team talked about it. And when trainer Rick Griffin said that today’s planned mound session had been postponed, the reaction from a gaggle of media types was predictable.
Is it a setback?
Not really, Griffin said.
“He’s not throwing a bullpen (session). He’s not ready. We’re going to long toss and do some flat-grounds (throwing) before he gets on a mound,” Griffin said. “We just don’t feel like we want to push him. We want to make sure we don’t have any setbacks.”
The difference between throwing from a mound and on flat ground?
“There are a lot more forces when you throw on a downward plane. There’s a lot more stress on your shoulder,” Griffin said “Flat ground simulates it a little bit in that you’re throwing on a downward plane to a catcher in a squatting position. You’re not throwing from a plane, but you’re still throwing down.
“From the mound you have the pitcher start from in front of the mound or you move the catcher in front of the plate. You do that a couple of times and if there are no problems, you move to the next thing.
“There’s a sequence of events you try to go through to make sure guys are OK,” Griffin said.
The team insisted Bedard was on pace for an ahead-of-schedule return in May or early June.
“He’s so far ahead of where he was supposed to be. He was 10 months to a year and we’re only at seven months,” Griffin said of the left-hander’s rehabilitation from surgery last August. “He’s doing very well and is far ahead of what he’s supposed to be.
“What we’re trying to do is make sure we don’t have any setbacks.”
Attempting to come back from a second major shoulder surgery in as many years, Bedard’s return to the Seattle rotation could make that group more formidable, with him pitching behind Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee.
Setback for Hannahan
Utiltyman Jack Hannahan’s comeback from a groin strain has hit a snag. After he was feeling better each day, that improvement has stopped.
Now, Hannahan may fly to Seattle to see team physicians and discuss, among other options, surgery similar to what Raul Ibañez underwent last year in Philadelphia.
“They want to do a bone scan, check for a sports hernia and hopefully rule it out,” Hannahan said.
Without Hannahan, infielder Josh Wilson was a clear club favorite to back up shortstop Jack Wilson, but over the last 10 days, that’s slowly changed. Josh Wilson has big-league experience, but Matt Tuiasosopo may be the more intriguing option.
Tuiasosopo has more power, is hitting .394 this spring and is a product of the Seattle farm system – always a plus.
Tuiasosopo has played second base, third base and shortstop in camp, and impressed the staff with his versatility, his bat and his attitude.
Oakland scored six runs against Ian Snell early and cruised to a 7-2 victory over Seattle. The Mariners were limited to seven hits, including doubles by Jose Lopez and Jack Wilson.
Left-hander Cliff Lee will test his abdominal strain today by playing catch, then be re-evaluated. The Mariners hope the injury isn’t serious, and they can soon go back to simply worrying about his five-game suspension. … The Mariners asked the Peoria grounds crew to water the field more heavily before games, since it dries quickly. In the first inning Monday, Ichiro singled, rounded first base running hard and went airborne when he tried to stop – with mud flying everywhere. He was tagged out in a rundown. Today, expect the infield to be watered a bit less. … Garrett Olson played catch for the first time since hurting the ring finger of his left hand. Unable to pitch, Olson volunteered to be the left-handed pitcher on the mound for the team’s early work on base-running. … Among the candidates for spot starter should Lee and Doug Fister miss time with injury is right-hander David Pauley, who threw three innings Monday and allowed one run.
Seattle plays host to the Los Angeles Angels, in a rematch of Sunday’s game, at 1:05 p.m. today. The game will be broadcast on 710-AM. Probable starting pitchers: Ervin Santana vs. Ryan Rowland-Smith.