Felix set to face hitters; Iwakuma progressing

Felix set to face hitters; Iwakuma progressing

DENVER -- Felix Hernandez threw a bullpen session with heightened intensity Tuesday and is on track to begin a rehab assignment as early as next week.

Hernandez has been on the disabled list since April 26 with right shoulder inflammation. His last side session was Saturday, and he bumped it up to 30 pitches Tuesday, throwing his entire repertoire.

"Felix is ready to go face some hitters," pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. said before Tuesday's finale at Coors with the Rockies before the series shifts to Seattle. "He threw everything. Good intensity at the end. Got on pitches. It was very good to see."

If he recovers well and there are no setbacks, Hernandez will likely have one more session with the team, then head out on a rehab assignment.

"We'll probably do a simulated game," Stottlemyre said. "That way we can lay our eyes on him. Probably get him a couple innings in a sim game, then he can go out."

Hisashi Iwakuma also threw a side session Tuesday. Like Hernandez, he is dealing with right shoulder inflammation and threw his last session on Saturday. He has been on the disabled list since May 10.

"I really was kind of surprised to see how the ball was coming out, based on how he felt," Stottlemyre said. "He labored through his side last time, and I was really unsure how it was going to be, but it was good. He threw 30. He bumped the intensity up. We got a little movement we're kind of working on, getting pushed back a little bit to get the arm up and to buy some time.

"The plan is for him is to do another bullpen, bump up the intensity, throw all the pitches, and make sure he's OK the next day, and then we can move him to a sim game."

Stottlemyre noted that Drew Smyly (left arm flexor strain) should progress to throwing catch from 120 feet when the Mariners get home Wednesday.

Manager Scott Servais offered one more injury update on outfielder Mitch Haniger, who is recovering from a right oblique strain that landed him on the DL on April 26.

"Mitch hit off the tee, hit in the cage, and he was out here running earlier today," Servais said. "Hopefully if things keep moving along, he can take batting practice on [Friday]. He's been saying once he gets three or four days to work on the field, he'll come back pretty quickly, get out on a rehab, work on his timing and go from there."

Worth noting

Since coming off the DL on April 25, Jean Segura has stolen three bases and has been caught stealing six times.

"It's all about timing for him," Servais said. "He doesn't get the big leads. He does it more on timing, and his timing has been off. His jumps have not been good. He knows it. He's trying to get back a feel for it. It is a feel thing when you're not just standing out there with a big lead trying to anticipate. He's trying to time it up, and his leads haven't been good and they've made good throws on him."

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver, who covered the Mariners on Tuesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.