PEORIA, Ariz. – Jack Hannahan will start the season on the disabled list, although the Seattle Mariners still aren’t completely certain what’s wrong with him.
Initially diagnosed with a strained right groin muscle, the team was concerned enough with the pain he was still feeling 10 days later to get him a bone scan – which showed no sign of a stress fracture.
One possibility ruled out.
Now, the team is going to send the left-handed hitting utilityman to Philadelphia to consult a sports hernia specialist.
“I still feel it, more at night than during the day, which seems weird,” Hannahan said Wednesday. “I hurt in the first inning of a game on March 4 and played six innings after that. There was no ‘pop’ and after the game I was just stiff.”
The next day, Hannahan was stiff and tender, and the Mariners sidelined him, then began ice and electric stimulation treatments.
“I started feeling pretty good, took some batting practice and ran a straight line,” Hannahan said. “After I ran, it was pretty sore the next day. That’s when they sent me in for a bone scan.”
The Mariners hope the tests in Philadelphia are negative, too, and that time will heal Hannahan’s problem. If it is a sports hernia, it could require surgery.
“It’s too deep in the muscle for me to get a shot – I asked,” Hannahan said. “I can still take batting practice, but for now, that’s it.”
Hannahan hasn’t played in 20 days and even under the best of circumstances won’t be ready to play on opening day. When healthy, he’ll begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment and hope to return to the active roster sometime in April.
More from sick bay
Cliff Lee’s game of catch on Tuesday went as hoped, and will be repeated today and – at least this week – on alternating days. Lee won’t slide into the Seattle rotation until he’s a) healthy and b) has served his five-game suspension.
Right-hander Doug Fister threw a bullpen session Wednesday, and will be re-evaulated today. If his bruised right forearm is good to go, he’s the likely No. 5 starter when the season begins. If he’s still unable to pitch? The Mariners will have to dig deeper.
Lefty Garrett Olson (jammed right ring finger) threw a bullpen session for the first time in a week. It went well, but he’s likely to start his season in Tacoma.
Erik Bedard had another long-toss session, said he’s feeling close to 90 percent well, and will throw one or two more before taking a mound for the first time since last July. Coming off shoulder surgery, Bedard is ahead of schedule but still a long way from rejoining the rotation.
Jason Vargas solidified his grip on a spot in the Seattle rotation with five scoreless innings, but closer David Aardsma struggled Wednesday, giving up both San Diego runs in a 2-1 loss to the Padres.
“Aardsma just needs to be out there more,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “He’s not quite where we want him, his tempo is just a little fast.”
As for Vargas, he’s now pitched 182/3 innings in camp, walked three batters and compiled a 2.95 earned-run average.
“There’s nothing I didn’t like about him tonight,” Wakamatsu said. “He had a downward angle on his pitches, he showed poise, he just had a great game.”
The Mariners’ offense, without many regulars in the game, managed four hits and went quietly, and Aardsma got little help defensively. The go-ahead run scored in the seventh inning, when Ichiro Suzuki ran about 90 feet – and first baseman Tommy Everidge went about 20 – before a pop fly dropped for an RBI single just behind first base.
Shawn Kelley will start one of the Mariners’ two games today, but pitching coach Rick Adair said not to read much into it. “It’s a bullpen game, and someone had to start,” he said. “(Manager Don) Wakamatsu said if Doug Fister had been healthy, it likely would have been his game.” … Ichiro Suzuki’s five stolen bases are his third- highest spring total, two behind the seven he stole in 2002. Does his spring total signal regular-season running? No. In ’02, Ichiro stole 31 bases – the lowest single-season total of his career. … Talking to Adair in the bullpen, Erik Bedard had a little fun with a couple of writers – taking the mound and throwing one pitch right-handed. He “announced” he’d return in April, as a right-hander, then in May as a left-hander. Seattle could use both. … Jason Vargas was a good hitter in college – just ask him – and in the third inning Wednesday, he put together a nine-pitch at-bat against San Diego’s Chris Young, then singled. … With the night game, the Mariners weren’t scheduled to take the field for stretching and batting practice until 4:15 p.m. Wednesday. So who was the first player in the clubhouse, showing up a little after noon? Ken Griffey Jr. ... When Milton Bradley left Wednesday’s game after three innings, Matt Tuiasosopo took his place – playing left field for the first time this spring.
The Mariners will leave Peoria to play a split-squad doubleheader against Cleveland and Kansas City with both games starting at 1:05 p.m. The Mariners-Indians game will be broadcast on 710-AM. Probable starting pitchers: Felix Hernandez vs. David Huff (Cleveland), Shawn Kelley vs. Kyle Davies (Kansas City).