Training Camp Day 4: We must be getting close

AardsmaWatching.jpgInjured closer David Aardsma sits with his crutches watching teammates throw in the bullpen Thursday. Aardsma hopes to be done with the crutches sometime soon and begin throwing in about two more weeks. (Photo by Greg Johns). 

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The parade of incoming position players continued Thursday as Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Adam Kennedy, Jack Cust and others arrived on scene in advance of Friday’s official reporting day for the full camp.

The only players not to be seen yet are Ichiro Suzuki, Josh Wilson and non-roster infielder Luis Rodriguez.

Ichiro always times his arrival shortly before his physical exam on reporting day, so no worries there.

As for the newcomers, Cust took his first unofficial batting practice and immediately displayed the power that will be welcomed at the designated hitter position.

And Gutierrez? He’s sporting a mohawk, just like Felix Hernandez. Apparently there’s some question of whose came first, so we’ll try to sort out that raging controversy as camp gets underway.

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THE ARMS RACE CONTINUES

Talked to former Red Sox reliever Manny Delcarmen a couple times in the last few days and have this story on him on the website today. Delcarmen is one of several interesting new non-roster invitees competing in the bullpen, along with Chris Ray, Justin Miller, Denny Bautista, Fabio Castro, Charlie Haeger, Royce Ring and Chris Smith.

These are all guys with Major League experience and Delcarmen was a well-regarded middle reliever in Boston until he ran into some forearm problems last year.

Wedge says the whole group of pitching prospects has been impressive to him thus far.

“I think we have a fantastic collection of non-roster guys in here, really good arms with some experience,” he said. “Then you look at some of the younger pitches we have and their size and stuff. It’s pretty impressive.”

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THE KING RETURNS TO THE HILL

Fifteen pitchers took their second bullpen sessions of camp on Thursday, including Felix Hernandez. The reigning Cy Young winner isn’t busting out his best stuff yet, as should be expected.

The last thing the Mariners want is for Hernandez to push too hard, too soon.

“I’ve had a lot of veterans that really understand the length of Spring Training and their arm and where their readiness needs to be,” Wedge said. “We’re fine with him. We’re going to give him time with the bullpens. We’re not in any rush. We don’t need him going out there in late February and really dialing it up. We can hold off on that a bit.”

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