Upcoming day off Monday will allow the Mariners to juggle their starting rotation at bit, shifting Erik Bedard’s start to keep Felix Hernandez on his typical rest.
Bedard, who has made four starts and taken four losses on his come back from three shoulder surgeries the last three years, would normally pitch Tuesday’s road trip opener for the Mariners in Detroit.
But because Monday is a day off, that Tuesday also is the fifth day for staff ace Felix Hernandez. And the Mariners would like to see Hernandez keep as regular a schedule as possible.
When Hernandez made his third start, against Toronto, the club pushed rookie Michael Pineda back a day. Now its Bedards turn.
“Thats the way were thinking right now, manager Eric Wedge said of the move, which would cause Bedard instead pitch on Wednesday against the Tigers, creating six days off between starts, two more than usual. “We want to keep Felix going on the fifth day if we can.
Although Bedard’s numbers (0-4, 7.71 ERA) have been anything but great, Wedge generally seems happy with what hes seen from Bedard.
Bedards velocity has been down his last couple of starts, and its possible the extra couple of days will help Bedard get it back. That wasnt the reason for the switch, though.
“More important than (velocity) for me is life, Wedge said. “And a lot of his pitches have had a little something on them.
KELLEYS RETURN: Reliever Shawn Kelley, who has spent the last three weeks in Arizona building up his arm strength after having ligament replacement (Tommy John) surgery on his right elbow, returned to the Seattle clubhouse Thursday.
His workouts have progressed to the point where hes throwing on a regular schedule, and the Mariners want him to continue to do that under the eyes of trainer Rick Griffin and pitching coach Carl Willis.
Kelley is on the 60-day disabled list and wont be eligible to rejoin the team until June 1, but he is optimistic that date five weeks hence is achievable.
“I see a big light at the end of the tunnel now that Im out of Arizona, Kelley said shortly after rejoining his teammates. “Before, I would throw just when I felt good. Now, Im on a regular schedule.
“This was like an extension of spring training, but without all of my friends around.
NOTES: Mariner third baseman Matt Mangini, who strained his quad during spring training and began the season on the disabled list, is healthy now. The Mariners took him off the DL Thursday and optioned him to Triple-A Tacoma. Left fielder Milton Bradley, who had a day off Wednesday, was back in the early lineup Thursday. But he was scratched after complaining about stomach pain. That opened the door for a second consecutive start in left for rookie Carlos Peguero, who was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and three runners left in scoring possession Wednesday. Peguero is one of four Mariners Josh Lueke, Michael Pineda and Tom Wilhelmsen are the others who have made their big league debuts for Seattle this year. No other team in the big leagues has seen more than two debuts.