Ramirez progressing toward rehab start

Ramirez progressing toward rehab start

Ramirez progressing toward rehab start
ST. PETERSBURG -- Erasmo Ramirez threw a 35-pitch simulated outing against live hitters prior to Saturday night's game against the Rays and the Mariners rookie right-hander is tentatively scheduled to make his first rehab start for Triple-A Tacoma on Wednesday.

Ramirez, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained elbow, threw two innings to teammates Dustin Ackley, Munenori Kawasaki and Miguel Olivo, taking a break between rounds to simulate a game situation.

Among the handful of spectators behind the batting cage was Ken Griffey Jr., who flew in from his Orlando home to exchange well wishes with some of the Mariners personnel.

Manager Eric Wedge said the session went well and the 22-year-old will throw a bullpen session Monday at Safeco Field before joining the Rainiers for his first rehab start.

"I was happy with my command," Ramirez said. "The hitters came to the plate to hit whatever was in the strike zone, so I was happy to see them swinging a lot. I was working more with my breaking ball. I'm not going to throw fastball and changeup the whole game, so I threw curves and sliders. Those are the tough ones. But I felt comfortable."

Ramirez began the season in the Mariners bullpen, then was sent to Triple-A and came back as a starter in June. He was 0-2 with a 4.58 ERA as a starter, including eight innings of three-hit ball in a 1-0 loss to the A's in his third outing. But his fourth start against Boston ended after 2 2/3 hitless innings when he felt pain in his elbow.