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February 19, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Rob Johnson catches bullpen session

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Rob Johnson caught his first bullpen session of the spring during today’s workout. He told me afterwards he felt fine and wants to catch another. The team only allowed him to handle one pitcher, that being Mark Lowe, then made him watch the rest. They don’t want to push things. Earlier, I watched a session in a back bullpen where catchers were being put through drills. Johnson was squatting and taking balls from a pitching machine along with the rest of his group, which included Eliezer Alfonso, Josh Bard and even Jack Hannahan .

I spoke to Hannahan just a few minutes ago when we ran across each other in the parking lot and he told me he won’t be catching regular bullpen sessions this spring. He will handle some, but be eased in slowly. He’s got other positions to worry about besides being an emergency catcher.
He told me manager Don Wakamatsu wanted him to work on his catching while the pair were in Oakland together and now, with the M’s facing some uncertainty at the position, he’ll upgrade his skills there this spring.
“I caught some in high school but not a whole lot since then,” he said.


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Hannahan (seen watching Alphonso in the photo above) spent some time working out as a shortstop this winter. He played two games there last season and the team wants him improving as a backup at that spot. Hannahan will primarily be a reserve third and first baseman this year, but he’s also handled shortstop and played second base in Class AAA. So, all four positions will be possible this year, along with the ultra-emergency catching duties. Don’t forget, Ryan Garko is also there to catch on an emergency basis if need be. The difference is, Garko will have first base and DH duties to handle on a regular basis and you might not want to take him out of those spots if a catcher goes down during a game.
As for Johnson, he spent time stretching his legs against a wall with trainer Rick Griffin monitoring him and talking to him. Johnson said he always stretches like that between sessions and there was nothing going on pain-wise. Griffin is there, of course, to make sure nothing goes wrong and Mariners manager Wakamatsu got a positive medical update on the catcher afterwards so he continues to make progress.
Erik Bedard played catch for 12 minutes as he continues to build up his arm.
We saw Ryan Feierabend throw a bullpen session today, the first time he’s done that here as he attempts to recover from Tommy John surgery.

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