PEORIA, Ariz. — Some mixed news Monday on the Mariners’ injury front.
Reliever Shae Simmons is scaling back his throwing program to undergo further examination on the strained muscle in his forearm, but relievers Tony Zych and Steve Cishek reported no day-after problems after their Sunday performances.
Zych pitched one inning in the 7-6 victory over a Cincinnati split squad, which marked his first official spring outing since undergoing surgery in October for a biceps tendon transfer.
Cishek threw from a mound for the second time this spring in his recovery from October surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip.
“He’s progressing probably a little bit quicker than we anticipated,” manager Scott Servais said. “We’ll put together a formal program for him that will build him up with six or seven outings that he’ll need (to build endurance).”
While Zych is now game ready, he won’t open the season on the active roster — a point that Servais underscored by saying Zych will shift back this week to pitching in minor-league games.
The news regarding Simmons is a clear setback. He exited a March 11 game against Cincinnati because of elbow soreness, which was later diagnosed as a strained forearm.
That ailment appeared, at least initially, to be limited good news because it didn’t involve the elbow ligament — a major concern for a pitcher who missed much of the last two seasons after undergoing reconstructive elbow surgery.
But Simmons had only recently started playing catch, the first stage of a throwing program, before encountering a setback. He underwent an examination Sunday by Dr. Edward Khalfayan, the club’s medical director.
“We still feel good that it’s nothing serious,” Servais said, “but Doc wants to take another look at him.”
While Zych and Cishek still appear on track for a mid-April return, Simmons’ status is less certain. Their absence is creating a heightened focus this week on the competition for the final spots in what projects as an eight-man bullpen.
“I think the bullpen that we start with will have a much different look when we get to May 1,” Servais said. “But we’ve got to get to May 1 and, hopefully, be in a good spot by winning the games we’re supposed to win.
“The guys that we have are throwing the ball pretty well. We feel good about that, and we’ll have more help coming.”
More Medical Updates
Second baseman Robinson Cano and designated hitter Nelson Cruz are still battling the effects of head colds but, barring setbacks, should rejoin the lineup for Tuesday’s game against Arizona at Peoria Stadium.
Neither Cano nor Cruz have played since March 22, but each expected to take part Monday in morning workouts.
***Outfielder Jarrod Dyson tested his fatigued hamstring Monday by going 6-for-10 in minor-league games. He only batted; he didn’t run the bases.
Plans call for him to run the bases Tuesday in minor-league games and, if all goes well, return Wednesday to the big-league lineup for the first time since March 21.
It was five years ago Tuesday — March 28, 2012 — that the Mariners opened the season with a 3-1 victory over Oakland in 11 inning at the Tokyo Dome in Japan. Dustin Ackley and Ichiro Suzuki had RBI singles in the 11th inning.
Felix Hernandez allowed one run and five hits in eight innings. Tom Wilhelmsen pitched two scoreless innings and got the victory when Brandon League pitched a scoreless 11th inning for the save.
Suzuki went 4-for-5, which enabled him to set a club career record with 17 hits on opening day.
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