One down, seven to go.
The Mariners got the rare piece of good news Monday afternoon that Steve Cishek was ready to come off the disabled list and join the bullpen. The list of Mariners currently on the disabled list who were projected to start the season with the team is now down to seven.
Cishek is back from hip labrum surgery that turned out to be more extensive and required more rehab time than originally thought. His spring training was spent getting his legs under him and getting the feeling back for throwing on the repaired hip. Once he began his throwing program, he made good progress into his rehab assignment. The expected soreness has been present at every step of the way, but Cishek has been encouraged by the fact that soreness associated with each new activity has lessened each day. His mechanics, which were given a tweak by pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. on the last homestand, are now sound. Finally, Scott Servais has another option in the pen.
“Obviously he means a lot to our bullpen,” Servais said. “He has a lot of history (with us from) last year. That’s another arm we can match up against the right-handers down there.”
While happy to have Cishek back, Servais said that he would prefer not to throw him right into the fire having been out for so long with the injury. Stottlemyre agrees.
“We need to give him a couple two or three outings and let him get comfortable again,” he said, pointing out that Cishek’s velocity and stuff in his minor league outings were not quite what they were last year when healthy. “He’s not all the way back in that regard, but his last two outings were good enough to get him back here, with the main thing is he’s feeling healthy.”
To make room for Cishek on the 25-man roster, Zac Curtis was optioned back to Double-A.
• A few six-inning starts could go a long way in helping the pen. Mariners starters heading into Monday’s game had failed to go more than five innings in eight straight games. Chase De Jong gave the team six innings on May 6.
• James Paxton played catch again on Monday and by all reports looked good. He will throw a bullpen either Wednesday or Thursday.
• Hisashi Iwakuma had a cortisone shot Friday and was to be seen by team doctors again Monday afternoon. He is hoping to be cleared to resume throwing Wednesday but will be brought along and built back up slowly. He is expected to miss four to six weeks.
-• itch Haniger played catch before batting practice Monday and has hit off the tee in the cages.