Innings are getting scarce in the Cactus League games,what with starting pitchers going six and seven innings, to the Seattle Mariners are taking advantage of minor league games to see their pitching.
Doug Fister worked four innings, Shawn Kelley two and Chad Cordero one in an intrasquad game, and all three got their work in and felt fine.
For Fister, it was his first game action since being hit by a line drive on the right forearm about 10 days ago.
"It was a good building day," he said. "I threw 65 pitches and didn't feel a thing from the forearm."
That's important, since Fister figures to be Seattle's No. 5 starter when the season begins. Kelley, a middle reliever who has been stretched out to pitch multiple innings, threw 24 pitches and got seven outs - four in one inning.
How's that? Well, in minor league games, if you want a pitcher to get a little extra work, you just extend an inning a bit.
"I've been working on the changeup, throwing it in different counts, and on a few small changes in my setup. My feet are further apart, my leg position is a little bit different. The more work I get, the more second nature it becomes."
Cordero, the right-hander who figures to open the season in the Tacoma bullpen, threw 34 pitches.
"All of them threw nice and easy, and Doug's healthy, which we wanted to see in a game situation," pitching coach Rick Adair said. "I saw a lot of first-pitch strikes from Fister and Kelley. Cordero's command isn't there, but it'll come."