While reliever Steve Cishek has experienced no setbacks this spring in his recovery from hip surgery, it appears increasingly unlikely that he’ll be game ready when the Mariners open the regular season April 3 at Houston.
"It’s going to be a challenging to get him to that point," manager Scott Servais acknowledged. "I’m not ruling it out. I know he doesn’t want to rule it out. But a lot of things would have to happen just right for that to happen."
Cishek, 30, underwent surgery Oct. 12 to repair a torn labrum in his left hip. He is scheduled to resume playing catch later this week.
A normal rehab progression would consist of throwing from a mound, throwing to hitters in live batting practice and then pitching in spring games — all with days in-between for recovery and evaluation.
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"He’s in a good spot," Servais said. "I don’t think (his recovery) is quite as fast as I personally would like. I like Steve. I like having him out there, but we’ve got to be smart.
"We’ve got a long year ahead of us. It was a pretty major issue he had done with his hip. But he is on schedule. Everything has been good."
If Cishek opens the season on the disabled list, the Mariners would be looking to fill two right-handed spots in their bullpen. The top candidates are Shae Simmons, Dan Altavilla, Casey Fien, Jean Machi and possibly Tony Zych.
The Mariners have an open date Tuesday but have posted their tentative pitching plans through the weekend. All are subject to change:
Wednesday vs. Cleveland (Peoria): Hisashi Iwakuma (two innings), Ariel Miranda, Dillon Overton (2-3), Ryan Weber (2), Zac Curtis, Dean Kiekhefer and James Pazos.
Thursday at Chicago Cubs (Mesa): James Paxton (3), Christian Bergman (2), Jonathan Aro, Micah Owings, Evan Scribner and Casey Fien.
Friday vs. Chicago Cubs (Peoria): Chris Heston (3), Dylan Unsworth (2-3) and Thyago Vieira.
Saturday vs. Cincinnati (Peoria): Chase De Jong (2-3) and Andrew Moore (3).
Sunday at Los Angeles Angels (Tempe): Miranda (3).
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners