Don’t forget to watch our 2011 debut of Geoff Baker Live! tonight at 6 p.m. PT.
We opened things up today with our new Around the Blogosphere segment. Now, we’ll do our first spring training post of the new season.
There are already plenty of position players here on the first day of mandatory physicals for pitchers and catchers. In the photo above, you can see Jack Wilson, Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley walking back to the clubhouse after a stint in the batting cages.
One guy who isn’t doing any walking yet is closer David Aardsma. He showed up this morning, moving around with what he calls his “Tucker” braces. For those of you who aren’t familliar with the movie There’s Something About Mary you can see the braces in the photo below, worn by Tucker.
Aardsma tried to throw from a seated position this winter, but gave up on it after a couple of sessions.
“I attempted the sitting down thing and you learn really quickly that you can’t keep your arm motion true,” he said. “I did it a couple of times just to get the motion. It’s just not the same. I mean, it’s hard to throw about 30 feet just sitting down.”
So, that was scrapped.
Aardsma now will wait until Wednesday and then attempt to walk without the aid of his braces for the first time. After that, it will take a week, or evn a week and a half before he can begin trying to throw.
“I don’t want to push it,” he said. “I want to make sure I’m healthy. I want to make sure I’m healthy for the rest of my career.”
Aardsma said he hopes to be back in April at some point. But when I asked him whether it’s possible he wouldn’t be, he replied: “It’s possible. I’d like to be but if I’m not ready, I’m not going to do that because I know what the long-term rammifications are.”
Aardsma noted that there’s some “some competition” in the bullpen and a lot of hard-throwing arms who can step in while he’s out.
One interesting tidbit: Aardsma noted that, at one point when he was in Boston, the Red Sox had four of seven guys in that bullpen who are now in Mariners camp.
The four? Aardsma, Manny Delcarmen, Chris Smith and David Pauley.
Ran into Tom Wilhelmsen earlier. He’s giddy about his first big-league camp, trying on the uniform right away when he got to his locker. Wilhemsen never pitched in a big league camp when with the Brewers early last decade. Now, his improbable comeback has jumped to a higher level.
But he hasn’t forgotten his roots. If you read the story on him that I linked to from last spring, you see that he’d been bartending prior to resuming his pro baseball career. Well, he’s not exactly wealthy just yet and has his share of expenses. So, this past winter, when he felt the need, he went back behind the bar a few times.