Erik Bedard and Shawn Kelley both tossed two inning simulated games before Saturday's game at Fenway Park and both were pleased with the results.
Bedard threw two 20 pitch innings with Mike Carp and Greg Halman batting off him. He didn't give up a hit.
"I felt good," Bedard said.
When asked if he felt like he was on track to return to the rotation for the homestand, Bedard said, "Yes."
"The ball was coming out well," Mariners pitching coach Carl Willis said. "It had good life. His breaking ball was good. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow when he comes in, but today went very, very well."
The big question would be how the sprained left knee would affect Bedard's mechanics. The left leg is where he pushes off the rubber and generates some of his power and gets down the mound. But according to Willis, there seems to be no effects from the knee.
"He's thrown enough bullpens," Willis said. " He didn’t have any problems. In that first one, it was more in the back of his mind and seeing how it feels. As he progressed into that first bullpen session, he started to stay on that back leg a little longer and his delievery became normal. He’s gone out and repeated that through the sim game. Mechanically, he looks the same as he did before the injury, so that’s a good thing."
But how Bedard feels on Sunday will be the determining factor if he's ready to go back into the rotation, or if he will stay on the disabled list and throw another simulated game. Right now, if returned to his old spot which is being held by Blake Beavan, Bedard would pitch Friday at Safeco Field against the Rays. However, the Mariners have an off day on Thursday so that could change how Wedge slots the rotation out.
Kelley threw two innings - 15 pitches each. The first inning, the hitters did not swing, but in the second it was live hitting.
"I felt really good," Kelley said. "I felt normal."
Kelley threw his fastball, slider and changeup at full speed.
"I was really pleased with his command," Willis said. "He hadn’t faced hitters for six weeks or so. He threw all of his pitches and commanded the ball well. We’re going to see how he feels tomorrow and determine on whether he goes another sim game, or we want to start him back on his rehab assignment."