"He felt really good [throwing Sunday]," Servais said. "Thumbs up on that one. He should be ready for a bullpen by the time we get back home or maybe just before that."
Servais said he didn't know yet if Benoit would need a Minor League rehab stint before rejoining the club. The 38-year-old posted a 3.60 ERA with two hits, four walks and four strikeouts in five innings over five appearances before going on the DL a week ago.
Left-handed reliever Charlie Furbush also is working back from shoulder issues and he threw off the mound for the first time since midway through Spring Training on Sunday, firing about a dozen pitches in a pregame bullpen session.
"He felt great, but probably was a little too aggressive," Servais said. "Just build it up, Charlie. We have a throwing progression for him, get some mound work in, some live hitters and then probably start seeing him get out for some game experience [in Triple-A Tacoma]."
Furbush hasn't thrown in a game since last July due to a slight tear in his rotator cuff. He attempted to return for Spring Training, but was sidelined after experiencing soreness following his second live batting practice session.
Given he's starting over from scratch, Furbush is likely looking at a June return at the earliest.
• Two other ailing relievers, right-handers Ryan Cook and Evan Scribner, are even further away as they work their way back from strained lat muscles that sidelined them since early in Spring Training.
Cook is doing some light throwing, according to Servais, but he's not eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list until June 2 and almost certainly won't be ready until beyond that date. And Scribner, who is on the 15-day DL, is behind Cook in his recovery and still has yet to throw.
• The Mariners went 4-2 on their last homestand to improve their record at Safeco to 5-7 this season, but they've still posted just a .200/.299/.330 line at home compared to .252/.325/.449 on the road going into Monday's series opener in Oakland.
Seattle's pitchers have been slightly better on the road, however, with a 2.89 ERA in their first 12 road games while going 8-4, compared to a 3.19 ERA at Safeco.