Seattle Mariners

Rotation shuffle awaits Rangers

BOSTON - Mariners manager Eric Wedge has set his starting rotation for the homestand starting Tuesday against the American League West-leading Texas Rangers.

With an off day Monday, Wedge and pitching coach Carl Willis tinkered with the rotation a little to give pitchers some extra rest.

Wedge decided to go with Erik Bedard to start the opener, followed by Michael Pineda and Jason Vargas. It means each will have an extra day off after their previous start.

But the Mariners won’t change Felix Hernandez’s routine. The reigning Cy Young Award winner will remain on his normal five days of rest after his start today against the Red Sox.

That means Hernandez will throw on Friday night against the Chicago White Sox, with Doug Fister likely to face Chicago on Saturday.

“As of right now, that’s what we are planning to do,” Wedge said of Hernandez and Fister. “It’s not chiseled in stone. We don’t have to make that decision right now.”

Hernandez prefers to work on normal rest, and has asked to keep it that way.

“He’s at the point in his career where he has a say in this,” Wedge said. “If we feel like we need to give him an extra day, we will.”

While a lot of pitchers aren’t bothered by that extra day, an extra two days like Fister will get can cause issues.

“There’s a big difference between one day or two days in regards to rest,” Wedge said. “It just depends on the guy... and the type of pitcher they are.”

Wedge said Mariners coaches can “get creative” in Fister’s situation and vary his weekly work schedule to try to offset any rustiness the extra time off might cause.

They can add a second workday between starts or order some extra throwing on a normally scheduled workday.

“That’s what we did with Bedard,” Wedge said.

Bedard pitched on seven days of rest in Detroit and had his best outing of the year, picking up his first win since 2009.

AARDSMA NOT READY

It appears that David Aardsma is going to need a few more appearances with Triple-A Tacoma before he’s ready to come back and pitch for the Mariners.

The Seattle closer was less than stellar in his fourth rehab outing on Saturday night in Reno. He faced four batters in the eighth inning, striking out two while hitting one and giving up a double. He threw 25 pitches, 14 for strikes. He was lifted before the inning ended because he reached his pitch-count limit.

“He’s probably going to need a little bit more work,” Wedge said.

But he’s not concerned about Aardsma’s apparent lack of progress.

“It was like 25 degrees (in Reno),” Wedge said. “He hasn’t had any cooperation with the weather. We are still looking at getting back a little more velocity, a little better command.”

The velocity on Aardsma’s fastball has been around 90-92 mph instead of 93-95. But Wedge believes it will come back with a few more outings.

“The velocity is not a concern,” Wedge said. “This is spring training for him. I think in spring training you go through a little dead arm and you have to work your way through it.”

But Wedge said the important thing is that Aardsma’s surgically-repaired hip continues to feel healthy.

Aardsma will get checked out by the Mariners, medical staff early in the week to make sure everything is healing on schedule. Aardsma will likely throw Monday for the Rainiers against Tucson at Cheney Stadium.

ON TAP

The Mariners will wrap up the three-game series with the Red Sox today by sending ace Felix Hernandez (3-2, 3.32 ERA) to the mound. Boston scratched scheduled starter Clay Buchholz because of stomach issues and will start knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (0-0, 5.56) in his place. Game time is 10:35 a.m. PDT on Root Sports and 1240-AM and 1030-AM.

Ryan Divish: 253-597-8483 ryan.divish@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners

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