Cishek smooth in return to spring action

Mariners closer sets down A's in order in first appearance since March 6

Cishek smooth in return to spring action

MESA, Calif. -- New Mariners closer Steve Cishek returned to the mound after a 10-day layoff with a sore biceps muscle and zipped through a 1-2-3 fifth inning in Seattle's 11-11 tie with the A's, which was a welcome sight for a club dealing with several setbacks in its bullpen.

Cishek struck out Khris Davis and induced groundouts from Billy Butler and Yonder Alonso in his third outing of the spring and first since March 6.

"It felt good," Cishek said. "The ball was coming out nice and easy and smooth down the mound. I thought it went really well. I didn't know if I'd be rusty or not going out there, but it was like 100 degrees in the bullpen so it wasn't tough to get loose. I threw a couple pitches and was ready to go."

Mariners Spring Training information

Cishek made quick work of the A's and called it good, which was exactly what he and the Mariners needed on a day in which six other Mariners pitchers gave up 12 hits and 11 runs.

"All I was thinking about was just throwing to the bottom of the zone nice and smooth and get out of it quick," Cishek said. "I didn't want to throw a ton of pitches, being out 10 days."

"I thought Cishek threw the ball very well," said manager Scott Servais. "I feel good about that one."

The 29-year-old sidearmer said he expects to pitch regularly for the rest of spring in preparation for Opening Day on April 4.

Worth noting

• Lefty reliever Charlie Furbush said he felt great after ramping up his throwing program Thursday, playing long toss at 150 feet and then throwing about 12 fastballs to an upright catcher on flat ground.

"So far, so good," Furbush said as he works back from some soreness in his left triceps that has slowed his return from last year's slight rotator cuff tear.

• With Seattle's bullpen thinned by injuries, Servais mentioned right-handers Donn Roach and Blake Parker as two non-roster invitees who've pitched well this spring. Parker, a 30-year-old who put up a 3.68 ERA In 74 games for the Cubs from 2012-14, threw a scoreless seventh with a strikeout on Thursday and has yet to allow a run with just three hits in five innings this spring. He missed most of last season after having surgery to remove bone chips in his elbow.

"Parker threw the ball well," Servais said. "He's got all his pitches working. He throws strikes and has been going right after them. We'll probably get him a little more regular work here as we go."

Stefen Romero was scratched from the lineup before traveling to Thursday's game, with Dae-Ho Lee taking his starting spot at first base. Servais said postgame he wasn't sure what happened with Romero and would need to check with the medical staff after getting back to Peoria.

Romero's two-run double

• The Mariners have been dealing with a flu bug that sidelined catcher Steve Clevenger and first baseman/designated hitter Adam Lind earlier this week. Both rejoined the team on Thursday, with Clevenger going 1-for-2 while playing DH against the A's and Lind being limited to the morning workout. Bench coach Tim Bogar stayed home with the bug for a second straight day.

• Outfielder Seth Smith was sidelined for a third straight day by a sore left groin muscle, but he is expected to be ready to play by Saturday.

• Shortstop Ketel Marte took a throw from right fielder Daniel Robertson off the side of his head after losing the ball when the runner cut in front of him in the second inning. Marte stayed in the game after being checked by trainers. He said his head was fine afterward, expressing more concern with his swing as he said he felt "a little lost" at the plate following an 0-for-3 day that dropped his spring average to .192.

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.