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Cishek feeling fine after rehab outing

Reliever's mechanical issues need work, Servais says
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

OAKLAND -- Veteran reliever Steve Cishek felt fine physically after an abbreviated rehab stint on Friday night, manager Scott Servais said Saturday, but he had some mechanical issues that need to be straightened out as he returns from offseason hip surgery.

Cishek threw 20 pitches in his expected one-inning start for Triple-A Tacoma at El Paso, but was pulled after getting two outs with a single and two walks. One of the outs was a pickoff at first base, and Cishek also got a ground out in his second rehab outing.

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OAKLAND -- Veteran reliever Steve Cishek felt fine physically after an abbreviated rehab stint on Friday night, manager Scott Servais said Saturday, but he had some mechanical issues that need to be straightened out as he returns from offseason hip surgery.

Cishek threw 20 pitches in his expected one-inning start for Triple-A Tacoma at El Paso, but was pulled after getting two outs with a single and two walks. One of the outs was a pickoff at first base, and Cishek also got a ground out in his second rehab outing.

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"Cishek wasn't as sharp as he'd been previously," Servais said. "He felt fine. I just think the release point, it wasn't coming out great. But nothing physical at all, it was more of a mechanical thing. He wants to get feeling better, feeling like he's in sync a little bit."

The Mariners are hoping to get the 30-year-old right-hander back fairly soon to bolster a struggling bullpen, but they'd like to see him throw well in back-to-back outings before giving the all clear. That means he'll likely throw again for Tacoma this coming week and possibly be ready to come off the disabled list when the team returns home on May 2.

Cishek had microfracture hip surgery on Oct. 12 and spent several months on crutches, so his spring was spent doing more rehab than throwing until the final weeks of camp. And that means getting back in tune now with his delivery.

"With the veteran guys like Steve, he knows his delivery and knows his body," Servais said. "The big thing is his body feels really good. No issues with the hip, and his shoulder feels really good. It's just sometimes you get out of whack mechanically because you haven't pitched that much. It's typical. He's kind of going through his Spring Training right now."

Once he gets healthy, Cishek could help fill the late-inning set-up role the Mariners have struggled with in the early going. Rookie Dan Altavilla had been targeted for some of that duty but was optioned to Tacoma on Friday after a series of rough outings.

Evan Scribner has also struggled with a 10.13 ERA in his first six appearances, while Tony Zych is just returning himself from a rehab stint following biceps surgery. That leaves Nick Vincent as the primary right-handed late-inning option to set up closer Edwin Diaz.

Cishek was Seattle's closer for the first half of 2016 and had 25 saves with a 2.81 ERA in 62 outings, though he was replaced by Diaz for the final two months and missed some time with his hip issue in August.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast.

Seattle Mariners, Steve Cishek