Mariners Insider Blog

Brendan Ryan: Still awaiting clearance to swing

Seattle Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan, whose final two months of the 2011 season were ruined by injury, is still undergoing physical therapy and hasn't yet been cleared to resume baseball activities.

Yes, it's driving him crazy.

“I watch television with a bat in my hand,” he said from his Los Angels home. “I’m close. I’m a lot better than I was, but I think I expected to bounce back a lot faster than I have.”
The back spasms that locked his neck up - he couldn't look left or right on the final day of the season - have eased and he nearly has full range of motion again, but team trainers and doctors are being conservative, which makes sense. Why risk a setback now, when spring training remains three months away?

Ryan, 29, was having a solid season until an in-game collision with third baseman Adam Kennedy as both chased a foul pop-up in early August. The diagnosis was a strained AC joint in his right shoulder.

Interestingly, after a long day of exercising now, Ryan said that’s close to where he still feels discomfort.

“I still get little pain at end of the day, and they call it ‘referred pain,’ ” Ryan said. “It’s under my right shoulder blade, like a pressing, after days I’m working out. It’s fatigue, they tell me.

“The exercises I’m doing are strengthening muscles, stretching them, getting my range of motion back. I’m about full range of motion with my neck. I don’t know how much is left to regain.”

The injuries - a sprained AC joint in his shoulder in August, back spasms in September - gutted his season. In his final 78 at-bats of the season, Ryan batted just .179, dropping his season average to .248. At the time of his August injury, he’d was hitting .264.

Ryan thinks he’ll be cleared to start swinging again with the next 10 days.

“I want to start hitting right away,” he said. “I want to be rolling come spring training. I had a good feel a few times last season, but I don’t want the peaks and valleys. I think I can hit between .280 and .300 all year.

“Of course, that means I’m going to have to keep myself in check once I get the OK. My first thought is get in a cage and hit all day. I won’t do that.”