It was one small step for man, one giant leap for Mariners-kind - Cliff Lee played catch today and felt no discomfort in his strained abdominal muscle.
"My arm feels good, my legs feel good and I want to let it go, but I'm afraid to," Lee said. "I've got to be smart. This is the third time I've had this injury. I'm not happy about being injured.
"This is my job and I want to do it. All I can control is today."
Lee's pain-free session likely frees the team to begin slowly working their No. 2 starter back into shape, something they weren't able to do the past few weeks.
"Rush this injury and you could have it bother him all season," manager Don Wakamatsu said.
So Lee has taken an injection and done pool work, played catch from a chair and from one knee. For the first time Wednesday, he threw standing up on flat ground and didn't have to stop early.
What's next? That's for trainers to determine, in consultation with Wakamatsu and general manager Jack Zduriencik. When the team flies to Albuquerque tomorrow night for two games, Lee will stay behind.
"I'll join the team in San Francisco (Sunday), and we'll see what happens from there," Lee said.
In all likelihood, Lee will join Erik Bedard and remain with the team as the season starts, on the disabled list, but able to work out with the team whenever possible.
Once Lee or Bedard are much closer, they could make visits to the minors for rehabilitation assignment starts - but that would appear several weeks down the line.