Still on crutchs after Decemer hip surgery, Mariners closer David Aardsma took his physical today - though he didn't participate in the treadmill phase.
"I won't miss that," he joked.
What he will miss is much of spring training and likely the first few weeks of the regular season, as he gets a late start in his comeback. How far behind is he?
"I've been cleared to try walking, weight-bearing my own weight, on Wednesday," Aardsma said. "I'm fortunate to have a manager and team doctors who don't want me to push it. Eric (Wedge) told me, 'Don't worry about time. Focus on your health, on how you feel.'"
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Last week, Aardsma admitted, he looked ahead on the calendar, trying to determine when, if everything went according to plans, he could take the mound again. Today, he shook his head when asked about that date.
"I've come to terms with it," he said. "If I'm healthy, I know what I can do for this team, but pushing to get an extra two spring games in isn't as important as being able to pitch in September and October."
Asked how he might be evaluated in spring, Aardsma laughed.
"It's tough evaluating relievers in spring training, because we come in late and almost never face more than one big-league hitter who's still in the lineup," he said. "I'm not putting AAA guys down - they can play the game, too - but I've made big-league teams by facing mostly AAA hitters in camp."
Aardsma has tried to keep his arm strong, tried throwing from a chair. It didn't work well.
"You think I have control problems on a mound? You should have seen me throwing from the sitting position," Aardsma said. "I was pretty bad."
So the closer will be patient, and spend the next 10 days or two weeks on crutches in the bullpen watching his teammates try to fill his job. Aardsma knows there are candidates, young and old.
"Brandon League has closed, Chris Ray has closed, and we've got young arms like Dan Cortes and Josh Lueke to look at," he said. "There's a lot of arms in this clubhouse who could make this team. If it's up to me, I'll be ready in April. If I'm not, I'll have to accept it and be ready as soon as my body allows it."