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Wilhemsen feels good about bullpen session

Mariners reliever to throw simulated inning Wednesday, may return around May 12

HOUSTON -- Mariners reliever Tom Wilhelmsen threw about 35 pitches in a bullpen session Sunday at Minute Maid Park and will next throw a simulated inning Wednesday when the team is in Anaheim as he moves closer to coming off the 15-day disabled list with a hyperextended right elbow.

Wilhelmsen has been sidelined since April 11 when he hurt his right arm while stretching before a game in Oakland. Manager Lloyd McClendon said he'll likely need one Minor League rehab outing before rejoining the club, which means he could be ready to return by around May 12, if all goes according to plan.

The 32-year-old right-hander said Sunday's session went well.

"I threw everything and felt great," he said. "My timing is there, my release point is there. Now we just need to get somebody in the box and get some competitive juices flowing."

Wilhelmsen said he'll be able to judge his readiness a lot better after Wednesday's simulated outing "when I get a batter in there and see how my stuff looks to them." The biggest challenge is regaining the touch on his offspeed pitches.

"Your curveball and changeup are such a feel pitch," he said. "When you haven't touched them in two to three weeks, it's going to take some time to get them back to at least a middle-of-the-season game mode. But today was a good first step and I felt great."

Wilhelmsen made just two appearances before injuring his elbow, posting a 6.75 ERA with two runs and five hits in 2 2/3 innings. He was 3-2 with a 2.27 ERA over 79 1/3 innings in 57 appearances in 2014, playing a key role in a bullpen that had the lowest ERA in the American League.

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog.
Read More: Seattle Mariners, Tom Wilhelmsen