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06/16/09 10:10 PM ET

Johjima nearly ready to come off DL

Mariners first want backstop to catch full game at Triple-A

SAN DIEGO -- Another couple of workouts with the Mariners here and a three-game rehab stint with Triple-A Tacoma this weekend could be all catcher Kenji Johjima needs to come off the 15-day disabled list.

Out of action since May 26 with a broken big left toe, Johjima rejoined the Mariners on Monday at PETCO Park and went through the pregame extra hitting session, did some running and said he was ready to take the next step on his recovery -- rounding the bases.

"It is good, no pain," he said after his workout. "This is the first time I did any hitting on the field and I felt no pain. I did some easy running and that was fine."

All systems appear good and the Mariners are hopeful of activating the veteran receiver during the three-game Interleague series against the Padres at Safeco Field next week.

But there is a catch.

"We'd like to get him some at-bats," manager Don Wakamatsu said, "but more importantly, he needs to catch nine innings. I don't want a two-catcher scenario where we have to pull him out in the fifth inning because his toe is sore.

"He has to be able to prove to us that he can catch all nine with no problem."

The Rainiers begin a home series against the Reno Aces on Thursday night at Cheney Stadium.

To make room for Johjima on the 25-man roster, the Mariners are expected to send catcher Guillermo Quiroz back to Double-A West Tennessee.

Johjima, who is batting .250 with three home runs and 10 RBIs, was injured in a collision at home plate with Athletics second baseman Adam Kennedy in the first inning on May 25. Johjima remained in the game and hit a home run in his second-inning at-bat, but he departed in the third.

Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.