Seattle Mariners

Ramirez begins rehab with Tacoma assignment Saturday

Starting pitcher Horacio Ramirez, on the disabled list since May 25 with left shoulder tendinitis, will pitch for the Class AAA Tacoma Rainiers on Saturday as he begins a minor league rehab assignment.

He'll throw 70-75 pitches Saturday and build up to at least 100 before the Mariners bring him back. Ramirez, 4-2 with a 6.47 earned run average, threw 50 pitches in a simulated game on Monday.

"The simulated game gave me some confidence in my arm," he said. "I'm real happy with everything right now."

Reliever Mark Lowe, who had major elbow surgery last October, will throw a simulated inning this morning and, if that goes will, will pitch a simulated game again Sunday before being sent on a rehab assignment, probably next week with the Rainiers.

n Health update: Left fielder Raul Ibanez took batting practice Tuesday but won't return to the lineup until Friday at the earliest.

Ibanez strained his right hamstring Saturday and, although he said it's mild, the Mariners are being cautious in bringing him back. He also performed some agility drills Tuesday afternoon.

"With hamstrings you really need to be careful," manager Mike Hargrove said. "If they do get worse, they can get to the point that a person can miss significant time."

Right fielder Jose Guillen returned to the lineup Tuesday after missing three games because of a sore right elbow.

n Twisted pitchers: There was a new toy in the Mariners' clubhouse Tuesday, and it offered further proof that baseball players aspire to be rock stars.

Relief pitchers J.J. Putz and Mark Lowe, among others, strapped on a couple of guitar-shaped game controllers and rocked away with the new Guitar Hero video game.

They leaned toward heavy metal, including the hit song "Woman" by Wolfmother, but also played some classics.

"There's some great stuff on there, including some stuff I'd never heard before," said Lowe, who's 24 and wasn't born when some of the songs - such as "War Pigs" by Black Sabbath - were produced.

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