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April 20, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Aardsma on his rehab appearance, and other pre-game notes

Reliever David Aardsma was back in the Mariners’ clubhouse after making his first rehab outing last night for Class AAA Tacoma. On a frigid night at Cheney Stadium, Aardsma worked one inning, giving up two runs and walking two.
“Twenty-two pitches, 10 strikes, which is a pretty good average. It’s right where you want it, right?” he joked. “Gotta get those hitters off the plate a little bit.”
On a more serious note, Aardsma was most pleased with the fact that his arm and surgically repaired hip felt great.
“It went well. I felt good. And that’s the most important thing,” he said. “I felt great. I actually felt like I had some good stuff on the ball. I was trying a little too hard — OK, a lot too hard a couple times.
“I’m more frustrated by the walks. But that’s definitely things you iron out in spring training and games like that.”

Aardsma thought he was squeezed a bit by the Triple-A umpire.
“There were a couple of those that I thought were really good pitches that were called for balls and got me behind in counts. So I thought I would have been ahead in counts and kind of had them where I wanted them. A lot of those, I was jumping out and trying to throw it and trying to get there instead of sitting back and making a good, solid pitch.”
Health-wise, Aardsma said, “I felt great. I felt good. My hip felt awesome. I didn’t think about it once. Not pregame, not during the game or after the game. It felt wonderful. I felt good today. I just got done doing a bunch of leg exercises. And I’m definitely happy with it.”
Asked for his timetable to return to a major-league game, Aardsma said: “As soon as I feel like I’m making good, solid pitches every time. And it’s that you make that pitch, and you are jumping out a little bit, and you step off and you make the next one and it’s a good, solid pitch. That’s when you are really focused. That’s when you are like, ‘I’m there,’ because that’s what you have to do in a big-league game. You can’t afford to have two or three pitches in a row that you are making mistakes. You have to make one pitch and step off and make a good pitch on the next one. When I do that, I know I’m ready.”
Aardsma will work out with the Mariners today and tomorrow and return to Tacoma to pitch again on Friday night.
Carlos Peguero, who played right field in the bottom of the ninth inning last night in his major-league debut, is in left field today making his first start, hitting seventh. He said he called his mom and sister back home in the Dominican Republic, “and they’re going to tell everybody.”
His family and friends will be able to watch the game on cable, he said.
Peguero has taken batting practice at Safeco Field twice — last night, and prior to the Tacoma Rainiers’ first game when they had a workout here. He confirmed he hit one over the batters eye in center and into the bleachers — something no one can remember any major-leaguer ever doing, either in BP or a game. Coach Alonzo Powell was doing the pitching. Peguero laughed when asked if he’d try to do that today against Detroit starter Rick Porcello.
“No, I’ll just try to make contact and put a good swing on the ball and see what happens,” he said.
Peguero recalled a rocket he hit earlier this season in Tacoma. “Ooof. I hit one really, really hard in Cheney Stadium and I think the ball was gone, but it hit the wall.”
Getting a taste of playing last night was helpful, Peguero said. “It was something to get the nerves out for the first time and see how you feel. To play a game in the blg leagues is awesome. I feel so excited about it. When I came in yesterday afternoon, he (manager Eric Wedge) told me, ‘You’re not in the lineup today, but tomorrow maybe you’re going to play.’ I’m ready to play.”
Peguero is with the Mariners because Justin Smoak was placed on the bereavement list. Smoak’s father, Keith, died Tuesday night at age 54 of cancer.
“It’s just a powerfully sad thing to have to go through,” Wedge said. “But I know Justin has a lot of support at home, and he’ll have a lot of support here. We do what we do. We keep going.”
He added, “You have to remember this is a game. It’s not real life. I tell the guys, it’s not your wife and it’s not your life, it’s just a game. You’ve got to keep it in perspective. When you talk about family, there’s nothing more important. We all have mothers and fathers, or have had mothers and fathers. More times than not, they’re the most important people in your life, outside your wife and kids.”
Reliever Shawn Kelley, who has been rehabbing all spring from partial Tommy John elbow surgery last September, will join the team in Seattle on Thursday or Friday and will likely travel with the team.
“That’s a step, get him back here with the guys,” Wedge said. “it’s always a shot in the arm for you to get out of there (Arizona) and get with the ballclub.”



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