When David Aardsma walked across the Seattle Mariners team parking lot today, carrying his crutches instead of leaning on them, the sun was just rising - literally and figuratively.
Coming back from December hip surgery, Aardsma is a long way from clI'veosing games, but his first steps were understandably important to him.
"I've been putting more weight on my legs and hips each day for awhile now, but the first 25 feet I walked without crutches? That was a great feeling," Aardsma said. "The work continues."
Aardsma won't let himself think about getting back on a mound. Not yet.
"I've got to walk, rotate the hips, keep up the work and begin throwing," he said. "Once I'm throwing, we can talk about getting on a mound. Right now, I'm still at the stage where they don't want me getting sore, so I keep the crutches handy.
Baby steps, literally. Aardsma said the process has given him a renewed respect for anyone who had to come back from an injury, more appreciation for being healthy.
"It takes time, and you can't rush it," Aardsma said. "Crutches, then walking a little, then walking more and more, then throwing. I don't let myself get too far ahead of what I'm doing right now. But it was fun coming in without using the crutches."