PEORIA, Ariz. – Shortstop Brendan Ryan, who spent time on the disabled list, then missed the final two weeks of last season with shoulder and back problems, hasn’t yet been allowed to throw in camp.
“We’re being real careful, making sure not to push it,” manager Eric Wedge said. “Brendan feels good.”
Ryan, 29, is a high-energy player and holding back isn’t his style. He’s doing what he’s told, running, fielding and hitting – he’s just not throwing.
Seattle has every reason to treat him cautiously. On the depth chart behind him are rookies Munenori Kawasaki, Carlos Triunfel and Nick Franklin, none of whom has played an inning in the big leagues, and veteran utility infielder Luis Rodriguez.
“Brendan is important to us, but we need him ready for the regular season, not this week,” Wedge said.
ART OF RUNDOWNS
Infield coach Robby Thompson drilled Mariners pitchers and infielders on pickoff plays, using real baserunners to heighten the speed required.
What he wanted – and got, mostly – was outs on one throw after the pitcher got the ball to an infielder.
“You don’t want guys going back and forth and making two or three throws in a rundown,” Thompson said. “You want an infielder to take the ball and either run the man down or chase him toward a teammate and make one throw for the out.”
Left-handed specialist George Sherrill, the only one of 36 pitchers in camp who hasn’t thrown at least three bullpen sessions, will throw his first today.
“I played catch last Thursday, Friday and Saturday, took a scheduled day off (Sunday) and will play catch again today,” Sherrill said. “Then I’ll throw a bullpen (session today).”
An oft-used left-hander, Sherrill met with team officials before camp began, and Wedge told him he’d be starting his throwing a little later in spring than everyone else.
“We know what he can do when he’s healthy, and our job is to keep him healthy,” Wedge said.
Because Sherrill often faces one or two batters in an appearance, the Mariners feel no urgency to build up his workload.
He will be brought along a little more cautiously in camp, but both he and the team insist it’s precautionary and not in reaction to any injury.
HIGH-DEF ON FIELD
Outfielder Trayvon Robinson is wearing corrective glasses on the field this spring, though he insists he doesn’t need them.
“I don’t really have a vision issue, but the glasses make everything a little sharper,” Robinson said. “I kind of compare them to the difference between regular television and high definition – I get a clearer, better picture with them.”
The second group of Seattle pitchers threw live batting practice Monday, meaning everyone but Sherrill has now thrown to hitters. They’ll do it once more, today and Wednesday, take a full day off from throwing and then start a series of three every-other-day intrasquad games. … MLB representatives were in camp to take random urine samples, asking about a dozen players to contribute. … It may seem a little early for media madness, but on a back field there were several dozen members of the Japanese media, watching as pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma threw batting practice to Ichiro Suzuki – who didn’t swing the bat, but tracked each offering. That was the field on which the Mariners had baserunning drills going, so hitters were told not to swing.