Seattle Pitchers Keeping Trainers Busy
Cliff Lee will play catch Tuesday, but the Mariners will wait until later in the week to evaluate him. It's likely that the strained abdominal muscle that has the 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner sidelined will have him on the disabled list to start the season.
Doug Fister, a right-handed candidate for the rotation who started 10 times in the second half of the 2009 season, has a buildup of fluid in his right forearm after having been hit there by a hard drive in his last outing Friday.
The club was hoping that he'd make his next scheduled turn Wednesday, but that seems like a long shot after trainer Rick Griffin said there was "a lot of fluid" in the forearm.
Left-hander Garrett Olson, who started 11 times for Seattle last year, was off to a miserable start to the spring that only got worse when he suffered a jammed left ring finger during PFP (pitchers' fielding practice) last week. He threw Monday for the first time.
And lefty Erik Bedard, while still ahead of schedule, was pulled back from the tentatively scheduled bullpen session that was to be his Tuesday. Instead the club will continue to have him long toss.
"We talked about a bullpen session tomorrow, but we're not ready to push him," Griffin said. "We want to be sure there are no setbacks."
Bedard, whose recovery from labrum surgery was targeted at 10-12 months, is feeling great just seven months after the procedure, so Griffin was quick to stress the change wasn't an indication of a setback. But setbacks typically occur when the pitcher goes from throwing from a flat surface to throwing on the downward slope of a mound.
"That puts more stress on the arm," Griffin said. "We're not ready for that yet. But he's far ahead of schedule as it is."
Last year's opening day starter, Felix Hernandez, is healthy and ready to go, but the way things stand now, lefty Ryan Rowland-Smith, who began 2009 as the No. 5 starter, could be No. 2 this year if righty Ian Snell doesn't take that from him.
Beyond that, the Mariners have to find two other starters. In the competition are (or were, depending on their health) Fister, Olson, lefty Jason Vargas, and lefty Luke French, who pitched himself out of the rotation last summer but is trying to work his way back.