BOSTON -- Veteran left-hander Erik Bedard threw 40 pitches in two innings of a simulated game Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park, and said he feels back to full strength and ready to return to the Mariners' rotation next week.
Bedard has missed four starts since spraining his left knee on June 27 in a 3-1 loss to the Braves.
"I felt good," said Bedard, who is 4-6 with 3.00 ERA in 15 starts.
Bedard and injured reliever Shawn Kelley, who is coming back from elbow surgery, took turns facing Mike Carp and Greg Halman. Kelley threw 30 pitches in his two innings and also said everything went well.
"Both guys had good stuff," said pitching coach Carl Willis. "Bedard's ball was coming out well. He had good life, his breaking ball was good. We'll see how he feels tomorrow when he comes in, but today went very, very well."
Manager Eric Wedge said barring problems, Bedard will rejoin the rotation during the next homestand. Rookie Blake Beavan has filled in for Bedard and made his fourth start Saturday night. If the Mariners stay in turn, Beavan would be slated to start Friday against Tampa Bay at Safeco, so that appears the logical spot for Bedard to step back in.
As for Kelley, who had surgery on his elbow last Sept. 1, Saturday was another step forward.
"I was really pleased with his command," Willis said. "He hadn't faced hitters for six weeks or so. He threw all of his pitches, commanded the ball well. Similarly, we'll see how he feels tomorrow and then determine if we go another sim game or go ahead and get him started on another rehab."
Kelly, 27, already has had one rehab stint aborted this year when the elbow flared up again. So he's adopting the cautiously optimistic approach.
"I take it day by day. I've learned that after a few rehab tries that have failed," Kelley said. "When I'm back here in a Seattle uniform, then I'll be happy. Until then, I'll just keep working at it and hope the elbow feels good, which it does now."
Rookie Carp gets another chance at Fenway
BOSTON -- Mike Carp missed out on playing at Fenway Park in his first big league journey two years ago, but the Mariners rookie left fielder didn't miss Friday, when he ripped a three-run home run in his first game in the historic stadium.
Carp hit a slider from Red Sox reliever Franklin Morales into the right-field seats for his first long ball of the season and second in the Majors, the other coming on Sept. 16, 2009, against the White Sox as a late-season callup.
Carp has had brief stints for three straight seasons in Seattle -- including a quick stop earlier this year -- but this time, he will be getting a good long look after posting big numbers for Triple-A Tacoma."He's up there hunting the baseball, which is what we want all our guys to do," manager Eric Wedge said. "I've been really impressed with his at-bats since he got back up here."
Carp admitted to some wide-eyed moments in his Fenway debut. He was with the team on a 2009 road trip to New York and Boston, but he wound up getting sent back down to the Minors on the day the club arrived in Beantown. He spent the night at a Boston hotel, but never made it to the ballpark.
So playing left field on Friday was a thrill, as was stroking a 1-2 pitch from Morales over the fence in the eighth inning of Seattle's 7-4 setback.
"It was shock and awe walking out there, walking up to the field taking pictures," said the 25-year-old California native. "I got that little kid feeling -- all the history behind this place. But it's crazy, being locked in once the game started. Then you walk out between innings, and you kind of get that shock and awe feeling again."
Carp will get time to adjust to his surroundings this time, however. He was back in the lineup Saturday, batting sixth against Red Sox ace Josh Beckett.
"It always feels good to know you're going to get a little more playing time," Carp said. "I'm trying to take it one day at a time. Whoever is on the bump, I've got to have the same approach and hopefully put more good swings on the ball."
Lueke impresses Mariners with Friday's outing
BOSTON -- When rookie reliever Josh Lueke was with the Mariners at the start of the season, his fastball was topping out in the low 90s and he struggled with his command, walking six batters in 6 1/3 innings over eight appearances.
That wasn't the hard-throwing youngster the club was hoping to see after a strong 2010 campaign, in which he posted 94 strikeouts and just 15 walks -- the seventh best strikeout-to-walk ratio of any Minor League pitcher -- in 63 innings with four different clubs.
But the 6-foot-5, 220-pounder was hitting 96-97 mph on the radar gun and spotting his pitches well in a 1-2-3 eighth inning Friday in his first outing after being called back up from Triple-A Tacoma on Thursday.
"Lueke was really good," manager Eric Wedge said. "It was good to get him in there. His fastball was tremendous, his splitter was really good. He looked much more comfortable this time than when he was up here last time."
Lueke says he regained his form in Tacoma after trying to be too mechanical in his initial shot with the club. When his velocity wasn't coming around, he tried tinkering with things and wound up getting out of sync.
But back in Tacoma, he pitched well enough to make the Pacific Coast League midseason All-Star team. He's hoping to carry that over in Seattle, where Wedge said the team will stick with seven relievers at least for the time being after going with a six-man bullpen for most of the first half.
"Before I was constantly thinking, 'Am I doing this right? Am I doing that right?'" Lueke said Saturday before the Mariners' second game against the Red Sox. "Once I got sent down, I watched video of my last outing up here and then went down and remembered I used to basically throw like [Tim] Lincecum a little bit. I went back to doing that and my arm felt a lot freer, pitches started coming back, the depth on my slider and split, and everything just tumbled into place.
"I think it had a lot to do with being overwhelmed my first time being up here and trying to pitch perfectly instead of just pitching. And that's something you can't do. I had to chill out and block everything out and just pitch like it's any other game."
When Ichiro Suzuki stole his 25th and 26th bases of the season in the first inning Friday, he became the 18th player in Major League history with 11 seasons with 25 or more stolen bases and the only active player to achieve that feat. Seven of the 17 ahead of him are Hall of Famers, including all-time leader Rickey Henderson, with 22.
Seattle rookie second baseman Dustin Ackley has the highest batting average of any player in the Majors hitting with an 0-2 count (with a minimum of 20 attempts). Ackley is 9-for-21 (.429) in that situation, with a double, two triples and two walks. Travis Hafner ranks second at .378 (14-for-37).
Left fielder Mike Carp said he's worked hard to improve his at-bats against left-handed pitchers this season. The effort is paying off as he was hitting.500 (4-for-8), with a double and a home run against southpaws entering Saturday's game.