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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Meche gets better with each outing

Kirby Arnold Everett Herald

Gil Meche said his right shoulder felt fine during a 55-pitch bullpen session Wednesday. How Meche feels today and Friday will determine whether he comes off the disabled list and pitches in a game as early as this weekend.

“He’s getting pretty close to game ready,” pitching coach Bryan Price said. “We have to see how he bounces back (today), and even if he’s good we’ll see how he is the second day. A lot of times the second-day soreness is most prevalent.”

The Mariners are considering having Meche pitch two or three innings of relief in his first outing, then return to the starting rotation when his arm is strong enough to throw at least 100 pitches. He’s fine with that plan.

“I haven’t pitched in three weeks, so I don’t have expectations to throw 100 pitches when I haven’t been throwing,” he said. “But my arm has bounced back and my body feels good.”

He went on the disabled list Aug. 20 with tendinitis in his right knee, then developed a sore shoulder that kept him out longer than expected. That’s why the next two days will be just as important to Meche as his good work in the bullpen Wednesday.

“It’s important to see Gil healthy,” manager Mike Hargrove said. “When he’s been healthy, he’s had success.”

Soriano, Atchison wait

Neither Rafael Soriano nor Scott Atchison has pitched since Saturday, when they both pitched in a major league game for the first time since recovering from elbow injuries. The teams says not to read anything into their inactivity.

The Mariners are being cautious with both pitchers. It was Soriano’s first major league appearance since May, 2004, and Atchison’s since last September. Soriano had “Tommy John” elbow surgery and Atchison a strained flexor bundle.

“They completed their rehabilitation cycles, but they never got to the point where they could be released for regular activities as relief pitchers,” pitching coach Bryan Price said.

Neither is ready to pitch on back-to-back days or warm up multiple times before going into a game, and Price said the M’s will deal with them carefully the rest of the season.

“If their rehabs were further along we’d have been able to do that before we got to September,” Price said.

Welcome to the show

Dave Brundage, manager of the Mariners’ Class AA team in San Antonio, has joined the coaching staff for the rest of the season.

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