SHANNON DRAYER

Mariners injury update: Felix Hernandez throwing, Ryon Healy hitting again

Mar 6, 2018, 4:39 PM
Mariners RHP Felix Hernandez threw for the first time since being hit by a ball last week. (AP)...
Mariners RHP Felix Hernandez threw for the first time since being hit by a ball last week. (AP)
(AP)

PEORIA, Ariz. – Monday was a big day for the Mariners. Dr. Edward Khalfayan saw a number of Mariners on the mend and most of the news was very good.

Felix Hernandez was cleared to play catch for the first time since suffering a contusion near his right elbow after getting hit by a comebacker in his second start of the the spring.

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Felix made about 20 throws Tuesday, and all went well.

“I was putting about 70 percent over there but it feels good,” he said after. “My mechanics were pretty good. First thing is nothing happened with my elbow so it is good.”

Felix hopes to be allowed to throw a 30-pitch long toss session Wednesday.

There is encouraging news on another member of the rotation, as well. Erasmo Ramirez is expected to be cleared to start a throwing program this weekend. He has been shut down for just over two weeks after suffering a lat strain.

“He’s progressing, healing up nicely,” said manager Scott Servais. “I’m not going to shut the door on opening day, but probably not.”

It is highly unlikely Ramirez would be ready for opening day, but Servais pointed out that the Mariners can work around that thanks to four off days in the first three weeks of the season.

“Looking at the schedule, we could get through 10, 12, 14 days depending on how you look at it,” Servais said. “We’ll see.”

Servais is a little more optimistic that he could have his first baseman ready for opening day as Ryon Healy was cleared to hit Tuesday for the first time since undergoing hand surgery. Healy has been taking fielding drills for about a week and ramped up the intensity with his throwing Tuesday.

“Good day for Healy,” said Servais. “He will put a bat in his hand today. Start with the tee then progress to batting practice on the field in the next three to four days. He’s moving along very quickly, which is exciting.”

Dr. Khalfayan also saw Ben Gamel, who was surprised by the diagnosis of an oblique strain that is expected to keep him out four to six weeks.

“Having a setback definitely hurts,” said Gamel, who strained the oblique hitting in the cages Friday morning. “The MRI showed something differently. We were thinking it was a couple of days thing and it turned into more.”

Obliques can be tricky and Gamel is grateful to have teammates like Mitch Haniger who can tell him what to expect in his recovery and how best to get back to the field at 100 percent.

“I am going to talk to (Gamel) as much as possible throughout the whole process but I just basically told him, ‘Let it heal and take it slow,'” said Haniger, who missed 42 games with an oblique strain in 2017. “For me last year, I wanted to rush things and try to do more. I told him that’s the kind of injury where you can’t really work through the final week, where if it’s not feeling good you can’t push yourself through it, whereas some other cases, if you come back from a broken hand you can. That’s something you have to let fully heal or it will linger.”

Haniger, who is currently sidelined with tendinitis in his hand but is scheduled to get into games Thursday or Friday, believes what he experienced both in suffering his own oblique injury and trying to get back quickly from it will benefit him moving forward in his career. He knows the importance of injury prevention and the work he does before baseball activity, as well as how to handle injuries and the recovery period when they happen.

It’s an experience Gamel would obviously rather not go through, but to his credit he is staying upbeat.

“All I can do is control my attitude and try to help the team anyway I can,” he said.

The one piece of ominous news came in the “No news” answer Servais gave when asked about reliever Nick Rumbelow, who is dealing with a shoulder issue. We could have an update on him soon.

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