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02/16/11 7:10 PM EST

Young Pineda makes early impression in camp

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Mariners are trying to keep expectations realistic when it comes to rookie pitcher Michael Pineda, but it's impossible not to be impressed by the sheer size and power of the 6-foot-5, 245-pound youngster from the Dominican Republic in the opening days of Spring Training.

Pineda threw his second bullpen session of the camp on Wednesday and again looked strong, which is something that comes naturally for the towering 22-year-old.

"He jumps out at you because he's such a physical specimen," said pitching coach Carl Willis. "He's a big, strong young man. Aside from that, I've been pleased that he's been very controlled in camp.

"There have been such expectations -- I think more so from media and fans -- so we're trying to temper that. But he's been very much in control. He's throwing strikes. He's definitely come in here ready to go."

After dominating at Double-A West Tenn and throwing some overpowering games at Triple-A Tacoma last year, Pineda is being given a strong shot at making the Mariners rotation this spring.

There's a long way to go there, obviously, but initial impressions certainly aren't hurting his chances.

"He obviously sticks out when you look at his size," manager Eric Wedge said. "But I like his athleticism on the mound. I like the way he presents the ball at home plate. I like the way his arm works and he throws the ball downhill.

"He moves well in PFP [pitchers' fielding practice] and gets after the ball. It's hard to miss the guy. He's a tremendous physical presence and he's performed, too."

Aardsma still on crutches

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners closer David Aardsma tested his recovering hip again Wednesday but remains on crutches as he continues rehabilitating from labrum surgery.

Aardsma indicated earlier this week he'd hoped to get off the crutches soon, but said now that will only happen when he's able to put 60 percent of his weight on the hip. He started out that process at 30 percent on Wednesday and will increase the process about 10 percent a day.

"When I get to 60 percent, then I can walk 26 steps without the crutches," he said.

Told that was going to make for a long, slow walk from the bullpen, Aardsma laughed.

"We can always use a cart," he said.

In truth, the veteran reliever is expected to miss at least the first few weeks of the regular season and could be out longer if the process has any setbacks at all. But he's not thinking that way at the moment.

"Right now I'm not worried about a timetable," he said. "I'm just worried about how I feel and today was good. I'm not going to focus on timetables because the only thing that does is push you too fast or leave you disappointed."

Bedard throws well again

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Veteran Erik Bedard threw his second bullpen session on Wednesday and looked sharp again, a welcome sign for the Mariners given his history of shoulder problems the last three years.

Bedard, who sat out all of last season, threw free and easy again in his 10-minute session. He'll have Thursday off, then be back on the mound for another bullpen on Friday.

Manager Eric Wedge said everything looked fine from the 31-year-old.

"I didn't notice him throwing any harder, but he looked good again today," Wedge said. "I just look at how smooth he is, the way his arm is working and the way the ball is coming out of his hand and approaching home plate.

"It all looks good. It's good to see and I think he feels good."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.