SEATTLE -- Mariners closer David Aardsma continues to be on hold as the club awaits final word on the MRI done on his right forearm Friday.
Aardsma is on the 15-day disabled list as he returns from hip surgery in January, but his Minor League rehab stint was halted after five appearances with Triple-A Tacoma when he felt soreness in his throwing arm.
"Right now, we're just evaluating the MRI," manager Eric Wedge said Sunday. "They're looking at it right now. The weekend doesn't help us, but hopefully we'll have something tomorrow."
Aardsma, 29, said the arm just started feeling tight last week, and the decision was made to back off until some answers were forthcoming.
And, yeah, after all he's been through to come back from the hip labrum surgery that wiped out his Spring Training, he's not happy about any new problems popping up now.
"I'm absolutely frustrated. How can I not be?" Aardsma said. "I've worked so hard and you come back from the leg stuff and everything is going great, then you have a setback. You have to be frustrated."
Aardsma isn't the only one struggling to return, however. Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, attempting to return from lingering stomach issues, was held out of Sunday's game in Tacoma after coming down with a flu-like illness.
Wedge said he'll likely be held out Monday as well, then travel with the Rainiers on their upcoming road trip to Oklahoma City and New Orleans, where better weather should help allow him to play more after some difficult days in Tacoma this past week.
Willett using today to celebrate survivorship
SEATTLE -- Kathleen Terry Willett, whose family has battled breast cancer for several generations, normally watches Mariners games from her seats in the upper deck at Safeco Field. But the Snohomish woman found herself front and center on the field prior to Sunday's game as the Mariners' Honorary Bat Girl as part of the team's Mother's Day cancer awareness efforts.
Willett, 47, is a season-ticket holder and five-year breast cancer survivor who underwent eight surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and hormone treatments in fighting the disease. She lost her father and sister to breast cancer, while her niece is a 10-year survivor of a different form of cancer.
"I'm really happy the Mariners and Major League Baseball have this opportunity," Willett said before Sunday's game, standing with her sister and husband. "It's a great chance to promote breast cancer awareness. It's a disease that is still out there killing men and women.
"I'm usually a very private person, and I can't believe I got myself into this, but I'm willing to do it for these types of situations, because one thing I've learned is it's important to be your own advocate and deal with it head on. Today is about having fun and celebrating survivorship."
Willett won a contest to become the Mariners' Honorary Bat Girl by submitting an essay in which she stated, "Hope is the antidote to fear."
Willett, who works for Expedia, volunteers with the Breast Cancer Network of Strength, counseling women with similar diagnoses or treatments. She said she entered the contest after reading about it on Mariners.com.
"It was two things -- baseball and cancer have both been a big part of my life," she said. "It was something that helped keep my mind off of things when I was going through chemo. I've always seen the Going to Bat against Breast Cancer program that baseball has, and I thought it would be great to be part of that, but I never thought I'd win. I sent in an essay, and next thing I knew, Major League Baseball was calling."
On Sunday, the Mariners and MLB held a national day of recognition to raise awareness and support for the Going to Bat Against Breast cancer initiative, a joint operation with Susan G. Komen for The Cure.
Players around MLB used pink bats on Sunday and wore pink ribbons and wrist bands as part of the breast cancer awareness effort. Game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats from Mother's Day games will be auctioned exclusively on MLB.com at a later date to raise additional funds for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
In addition to promotional support, Major League Baseball Charities has committed $50,000 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Fans can purchase their own personalized pink bat at MLB.com or www.slugger.com, with $10 from the sale of each bat benefiting Komen for the Cure.
Soreness cuts short Kelley's simulated game
SEATTLE -- Halfway through a simulated game during which he was to throw 30 pitches on Sunday, injured Mariners reliever Shawn Kelley felt some stiffness in his side and manager Eric Wedge and team trainers cut short his workout.
Kelley, making his second simulated outing as he returns from partial Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, threw 15 pitches and then called it a day.
"I think he's fine, but we don't want to press him," Wedge said. "He's so close to getting out and going on rehab, so we'll take him to Baltimore with us, let him play catch for a couple days and have him do another sim game there.
"He's had a great incline on this [comeback], so it's normal to have something at some point in time. I don't think today was anything, but let's not take any chances."
Kelley said the cold weather made it difficult for him to loosen up initially, and once he did start pitching to live batters, his back started to tighten up.
"Nothing serious," Kelley said. "I threw a couple more pitches after that and felt OK, just a little stiff, but Wedge said 'Hey, let's not mess around. It's 40 degrees out, it should be warmer in Baltimore. Let's live to fight another day."
Kelley has had trouble with his oblique muscle in the past, but said this was more in his back than his side. The 26-year-old right-hander is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list on June 1, and will likely go out on a Minor League rehab assignment if he completes his next simulated outing in Baltimore without any issues.
Figgins out of lineup after his knee tightens
SEATTLE -- Mariners third baseman Chone Figgins was initially penciled into Sunday's lineup against the White Sox, but he was replaced by Luis Rodriguez after manager Eric Wedge discovered Figgins' knee had tightened up over night.
Figgins fouled a ball off his right knee in Saturday's 6-0 loss to the White Sox, but remained in the game.
"He came in real stiff today," Wedge said. "I'm not going to try to push that. So we popped Luis in there. We'll get treatment and hopefully it'll be fine."
Batters frequently foul balls off their feet and instep, but the knee is tougher to do. But Figgins drove an inside pitch from Gavin Floyd off his knee and suffered the consequences.
"You don't [see that as often], but it happens," said Wedge. "You see more of it now, though, because of all the cutters kids are throwing nowadays. The ball chases you and you keep going with it and end up clipping it off your knee from time to time."