BY John Hickey 06:17PM 04/21/2011

Mariners may push back Bedard

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.

Erik Bedard lasted just five innings and allowed three earned runs Wednesday afternoon against the Tigers. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

The Mariners are likely to push left-handed starter Erik Bedard back a couple of days before his next start.

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 it’s Bedard’s turn.

“That’s the way we’re 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 he’s seen from Bedard.

Bedard’s velocity has been down his last couple of starts, and it’s possible the extra couple of days will help Bedard get it back. That wasn’t 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.’’

KELLEY’S 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 he’s 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 won’t 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 I’m out of Arizona,’’ Kelley said shortly after rejoining his teammates. “Before, I would throw just when I felt good. Now, I’m 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.

Twitter: @JHickey3


YourThoughts

  • Joe Gallagher

    It’s safe to speculate on whether this move is designed to give Felix maximum exposure in the shop window.

  • Mikerice32

    Fletcher Jenkins was a Tacoma native and went to Lake.  I played against him in little league and junior high. Holmes went to Timberline.