PEORIA, Ariz. – It happens in most camps every spring, when a veteran player comes in, has to shut down his workouts because of a physical ailment and never quite gets it going again.
So when Seattle Mariners left-hander George Sherill, 34, didn’t throw a bullpen session either of the first two days – the only one of 35 pitchers in camp who didn’t – there was mild concern.
On Tuesday, Sherrill explained his situation.
“I pitched in 51 games last season and probably warmed up in 150,” he said. “At my age, all those games and innings, you develop stuff.”
“Bone spurs and floating bodies. I saw an X-ray of my elbow one time and it looked like someone had used meat tenderizer in there,” Sherrill said with a laugh. “There’s nothing wrong that would prevent me from pitching.
“I threw last week, Wednesday and Friday, and when I talked to Eric Wedge and Carl Willis, we decided just to take an extra two or three days before I start it up.”
Strictly precautionary, everyone says. Other veteran pitchers can relate. In the Mariners clubhouse, for instance, Kevin Millwood was asked if he was ever pain-free at age 38.
“Probably deep into the offseason, like when I’m deer hunting,” he said. “Other than that, no. That doesn’t mean you can’t pitch.”
All it means, Sherrill said, is that you pay for each pitch.
“I’ll be back doing what everyone else is doing in the next day or two,” he said.
SO FAR SO GOOD
The Seattle plan to get its staff ready is to give each pitcher three bullpen sessions, a couple of 10-minute live batting practice sets once the regulars are in camp – then head into the intra-squad games.
On Tuesday, the first half of the pitchers in camp threw their second bullpen session.
“Three days in and no one has coming up stiff or sore,” pitching coach Willis said. “Everyone’s been smart, making their pitches matter even in the bullpen, working on their routine.
“They’re not just out there taking the ball from the catcher and throwing.”
A WIN-WIN SITUATION
No one questions how good ace Felix Hernandez is, though over the past two season his record – 27-26 – is hardly representative.
“As we become a more well-balanced club, Felix deserves to benefit from it,” manager Wedge said.
Translated, that means when Seattle’s offense produces more runs, Felix will get more wins.
The first clubhouse movie review is in: Reliever Forrest Snow was asking about what he should see, and teammate Tom Wilhelmsen had a suggestion.
“I watched ‘Thank you, more please’ last night,” Wilhelmsen said. “Great, uplifting movie. Came out of there feeling pretty good. It’s on Netflix now.”
Should you wonder what kind of film-goer Wilhelmsen is, consider this: He liked the European version of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and doesn’t want to watch the American production.
Position players continue to come in, work out and take batting practice on one of the four minor league fields. On Tuesday, outfielders Michael Saunders, Trayvon Robinson and Carlos Peguero joined the team. Alex Liddi will play both first and third base in camp and, likely, once the season begins in Class AAA Tacoma. “Versatility can only help us, and him,” Wedge said. Seattle has added a Cactus League split-squad game for March 16. The Mariners will play the Milwaukee Brewers in a day game in Tucson, then play their regularly schedule exhibition game against Oakland in Phoenix that night. Chris Gimenez, who was designated for assignment earlier this month, elected to become a free agent and signed a contract with Pittsburgh.