03/08/2013 6:07 PM ET
Bonderman takes another step in comeback bid
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Jeremy Bonderman's comeback bid is a step-by-step process this spring, and the 30-year-old took another solid stride Thursday with three innings of one-run ball against the A's.
The former Tigers starter hasn't pitched in a Major League game since 2010 but is finally healthy after a series of arm problems sent him into early retirement. In his first three appearances, Bonderman has allowed six runs and eight hits in six innings but gradually is getting his feet under him.
"I threw the ball a lot better," Bonderman said after his Thursday outing against the A's. "I just had one split that kind of came back that a guy hit for a home run. But it was good. Every outing has gotten better and better. My arm is recovering good, so no complaints so far."
Bonderman won 14 games for the Tigers in both 2005 and '06 and pitched for Detroit in the World Series in '06. Before his health problems arose, he was a quality Major League starter with a 93-94 mph fastball.
Just 10 months removed from Tommy John surgery, he's throwing in the low 90s this spring.
"I don't know where I was at [Thursday], but my last outing before this one I hit 92, which is good," he said. "If I can stay in that 90-92 range, I'll be pretty happy. Outs and results are the only thing that matters, so I'm not a big radar guy. But I do want to know what I have to work with."
As he continues to knock the rust off after nearly three years away from the game, Bonderman will see where spring leads. He knows he's far from assured a job as a non-roster invitee, but he's interested to see how things play out.
"I'm actually having a lot of fun," he said. "There are some days when I wonder why I'm doing it again, but most of the time I'm having a good time. I enjoy the guys. That's probably the one thing I missed the most. For me, it's just having something to do every day so I don't go stir crazy."
Noesi's pitching troubles continue vs. A's
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Though rain ultimately wiped out a rough start to Friday's game with the A's, Mariners pitcher Hector Noesi will have a hard time erasing another bad outing in what has been a difficult spring.
Noesi, 26, gave up three home runs -- and seven runs overall -- in two innings in a game ultimately canceled with the Mariners trailing 12-1 in the fourth inning. Noesi allowed five hits, two walks, a hit batter and wild pitch along with six earned runs with a performance that would have pushed his Cactus League ERA to 19.06 if it had remained official.
Instead, he's still at 14.73 in three games, none of which have made anyone forget last year's 2-12 record and 5.82 ERA in 22 outings with Seattle.
"Again, it was a lot of the same," said manager Eric Wedge. "He has to get over that hump. You get a couple quick outs in that first inning, some things start to happen and then it just dominoed on him. Same thing in the second inning.
"He gets a couple outs, a walk and then a home run. So it's about finishing pitches, going out there and finishing hitters off and controlling damage. That's just something he's going to have to continue to work at. That's been his Achilles' heel so far."
Noesi said he needs to do a better job of locating his pitches down and in, but vows to get better.
"It was my first year as a starter last year," he said. "Now I have more experience. I just have to work on my low pitches. That's the only problem. I'm going to be consistent soon. I'm working for this."
Wedge believes Noesi has the ability to compete at the Major League level, but needs to put things together.
"I don't think it's so much focus as mindset," Wedge said. "It's just being to the point that, 'Hey, listen, we're going to make pitches and execute pitches to get this guy out and control this damage right here.' That's been his issue.
"He's been around a little bit, he gained some valuable experience last year at the big league level. I think the big leagues showed him what he needs to continue to work on and it continues to show him. His stuff is real, but it is about executing pitches and having conviction with your pitches. And that's what we haven't seen."
Romero leaves game with oblique injury
PEORIA, Ariz. -- One day after having the game of his young professional career with two home runs and seven RBIs, Mariners infield prospect Stefen Romero strained his left oblique muscle while striking out in the second inning Friday and had to be removed from the game against the A's.
Romero got the start at third base Friday after his 4-for-5 day with a grand slam and three-run home run 24 hours earlier against the Royals. But after swinging through an off-speed pitch by Oakland's A.J. Griffin, he was replaced by Vinnie Catricala and was undergoing tests Friday evening, according to manager Eric Wedge.
"It looked like it grabbed him pretty good," Wedge said. "He'll get checked out today and we'll go from there. We'll see just what we're looking at."
Oblique strains in the stomach area can be a tough injury for baseball players, given the torque needed to swing a bat. Romero, 24, was off to an excellent start in his first Major League camp, hitting .500 (7-for-14) with two home runs and eight RBIs in seven games.
The young infielder out of Oregon State hit .352 with 23 home runs in splitting last season between Class-A High Desert and Double-A Jackson.
Friday's game eventually was canceled in the fourth inning when heavy rain started falling.
The Mariners did get good news on left-hander Danny Hultzen, who threw a light bullpen session earlier in the day in his first action since being scratched from Monday's start with a sore hip. Wedge said Hultzen threw without any issues and will be given one more bullpen session before determining when he'll return to game action.
• Jamie Moyer, the winningest pitcher in club history, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Night at Safeco Field, Monday, April 8, when the Mariners take on the Astros. Moyer won 145 games for Seattle in 11 seasons from 1996-2006 and holds team records for games started (323), innings pitched (2,093) and fewest walks per nine innings pitched (2.253). He is third in win percentage (.625) and tied for sixth in shutouts with six.
• Jon Garland will make his third start of the spring on Saturday when the Mariners face the Dodgers in Glendale, Ariz. The veteran right-hander, trying to make the club as a non-roster invitee, has yet to allow a run in three innings of work. He's slated to throw three innings, followed by another three by left-hander Joe Saunders.
• Right-hander Andrew Carraway is scheduled for his first Cactus League start in a two-inning stint Sunday when the Mariners host the White Sox at Peoria Stadium. Taijuan Walker is scheduled for an inning of relief in that game, along with Tom Wilhelmsen, Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor, Lucas Luetge and Carter Capps.
• This weekend's games are all live on 710 ESPN Seattle starting at 12:05 p.m. PT until Sunday, when Daylight Saving Time kicks in and Arizona will finally be on the same time as Seattle. That means all Cactus League day games after Saturday will be at 1:05 p.m. PT.
• After Friday's game with the A's was canceled in the fourth inning, the Mariners set up a "B" game for Saturday morning against the Padres in Peoria Stadium in order to get the needed work for their pitchers. That game will likely be seven innings, with the Mariners then heading to Glendale to face the Dodgers in their Cactus League game.