03/08/11 7:08 PM ET
Aardsma still not yet cleared for throwing
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
Aardsma originally expected to begin playing catch shortly after he was able to put aside his crutches and could put his full weight on his hip. But he's been walking for a week now and still hasn't received the green light to start playing catch.
"Nothing new," the 29-year-old said Tuesday. "I'm just doing my work. I just keep my head out of it and try to get better every day and not worry about when I'm throwing. That's just where I'm at. It will happen eventually and that will be great."
Aardsma has said all along that he'd rather go slowly and be ready to pitch at season's end rather than push for an early return that would set him back further. But initial suggestions that he could be ready to pitch in games by mid-April clearly seem overly optimistic now.
Manager Eric Wedge said there is no timetable on Aardsma's return.
With Aardsma out, the club continues looking at closer options. Returning setup man Brandon League seems like the favorite, with former Orioles closer Chris Ray and ex-Red Sox reliever Manny Delcarmen in the mix as well.
Ray has pitched two scoreless innings this spring and will throw in a simulated game Wednesday. Delcarmen has made four Cactus League appearances and surrendered four walks, two hits and two runs, though he threw a 1-2-3 eighth with a strikeout in Tuesday's 1-0 victory over the Giants.
Rookie Josh Lueke has been one of the more impressive relievers in camp so far, with four scoreless innings with just two hits and no walks, but the Mariners have expressed reluctance to throw a youngster into the closer role right off the bat.
Smooth sailing in first start for Vargas
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Left-hander Jason Vargas, in line to be the Mariners' No. 2 starter to open the season, got his spring started on the right foot with three shutout innings Tuesday in a 1-0 victory over the Giants.
Vargas has been held back this spring on the same schedule as Felix Hernandez, but the 28-year-old came out strong as he surrendered just two base hits -- one a bunt single -- and one walk. Vargas faced just 10 batters thanks to a double-play grounder and a pickoff that eliminated leadoff hitter Darren Ford in his final frame.
Vargas, who pitched two innings of a simulated game last week against Minor League hitters, said he felt surprisingly comfortable in his first official outing.
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"It didn't feel a whole lot different," he said. "It was just nice to get out there in a real game. It feels like forever, but it really wasn't that long."
After working on a curveball in the simulated game, Vargas only threw his fastball, changeup and cutter Tuesday because catcher Adam Moore never called for the curve. But his three primary pitches worked just fine as he kept the Giants off balance on a day both teams combined for just seven hits.
"We were looking to be around the strike zone and get ahead early and not be all over the place, so I was happy with it," said Vargas.
Manager Eric Wedge was understandably pleased with his team's pitching performance as seven different hurlers combined for the shutout.
"Everybody threw well today," Wedge said. "For the most part they did a good job with their fastball in the zone and secondary stuff was good. You like to see that, especially early in camp when you're running so many people out there.
"Vargas was very good. Obviously his first time out there, but three innings under control. That's what we've been seeing all spring. He just took it out to the game today."
Mariners muscle up in 'B' game vs. Dodgers
Though the Mariners had gone without a home run over their last six Cactus League games, they brought out the long ball Tuesday in a 7-1 victory over the Dodgers in a "B" game on a practice field at the Dodgers' facility in Glendale.
Rookie second baseman Dustin Ackley hit a three-run home run in the sixth and final inning of the non-counting game, while Milton Bradley and Alex Liddi hit solo homers in the fourth and fifth innings.
Bradley, starting in center field, had two hits in the game, as did Liddi and Ackley.
"It's important to get him out there a couple times just in case we need him out there," manager Eric Wedge said of Bradley's defensive duties.
Bradley has played 450 games in center field in his Major League career, but only 16 of those have been since '05 when he started 73 times there for the Dodgers.
Luke French, competing for a rotation spot for the Mariners, gave up one run on five hits over two innings. Yoervis Medina, Chris Seddon, Chris Smith and Yusmeiro Petit each threw a scoreless inning of relief.
French, another returner competing for a rotation spot, struggled in the first inning against the Dodgers before settling in.
"I want him to be a little more aggressive at times with all his pitches and I felt he made some good adjustments with that," Wedge said.