Sports

Mariners modify Bedard’s rehab program

PEORIA, Ariz. – The Seattle Mariners aren’t calling it a setback, but pitcher Erik Bedard won’t throw from a mound today as planned.

Bedard, whose progress from shoulder surgery last August has been impressive, has developed some stiffness in his left arm, manager Don Wakamatsu said.

“The other day he had a little bit of stiffness. More like a tired arm,” Wakamatsu said. “He’s been throwing quite a bit in his long-toss program. He felt it two days ago, so we’re going to be cautious about it. But I think we’re in good shape.”

The Mariners insist Bedard hasn’t suffered a setback; only that they’re being cautious and that his recovery still remains ahead of the 10-12 month timetable that’s typical of such an injury. Bedard had surgery Aug. 14 to fix a torn labrum in the shoulder.

“He’s so far ahead of where he was supposed to be,” Mariners trainer Rick Griffin said. “We’re only at seven months. What we’re trying to do is make sure we don’t have any setbacks.”

Griffin said Bedard would continue to long-toss and throw off flat ground.

Bedard’s recovery had gone so smoothly through the winter that the Mariners, after signing him, had him continue his throwing program in Arizona.

The July return estimate was pushed up to as early as mid-May, although Bedard wasn’t expected to throw from a mound until after the Mariners broke from spring training on April 1. That’s why it seemed significant a couple of weeks ago when the Mariners said Bedard would throw from a mound Monday.

With any pitcher, nothing is certain when it comes to rehab because of the tweaks and twinges, not to mention full-fledged setbacks, that are common after arm injuries. Bedard’s recovery has gone better than expected and without any problem that would cause the team to shut him down, and the Mariners want to keep it that way.

Hannahan to miss start of season

Wakamatsu confirmed Monday what had become more obvious as the end of spring training nears, that utility player Jack Hannahan won’t be ready for the season opener in two weeks because of his bad right groin.

Hannahan injured it in the second exhibition game March 4 and, while it improved enough for him to run lightly and field ground balls Monday morning, the team wonders why he’s not further along. So, the Mariners are sending Hannahan back to Seattle for more tests.

“It’s been kind of a lingering thing, so we’re going to check him out and see if there’s not something more serious in there,” Wakamatsu said.

Sloppiness, but positives, in loss

The Mariners looked sloppy at times in a 7-2 loss to the Oakland A’s, but there also were enough good elements that Wakamatsu was encouraged.

Starting pitcher Ian Snell gave up seven hits and six earned runs in four innings, struggling especially in the A’s five-run second inning when he left too many pitches up in the strike zone. The good from that? Snell eventually did dial it down, finished with 73 pitches and didn’t walk anyone. In fact, none of the Mariners’ four pitchers issued a walk.

Snell, in his first Arizona spring after being with the Pirates in Florida, is fast learning about slick baseballs because of the dry desert air. He struggled to get a good bite with his slider.

“I didn’t have my breaking ball and when you are stuck with two pitches you are going to get hurt,” Snell said.

Reliever Mark Lowe worked another efficient inning in what’s been a solid spring, needing nine pitches (six for strikes) to get through a 1-2-3 fifth.

And Milton Bradley made his presence felt without doing anything to rile an umpire. He dropped a bunt single in the second inning, and Wakamatsu loved it.

“I was pleased just for the fact that we’re playing Oakland,” Wakamastsu said. “Now they’ve got to honor that. I really liked it. He had the stolen base (Sunday) against Anaheim. He’s doing some things to plant some seeds and that’s fine.”



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