David Aardsma didn't much like the inning he pitched Tuesday.
Aardsma gave up two hits and two walks, and those led to two runs. And he threw it in the minor leagues, for Triple-A Tacoma.
On the other hand, it beat the heck out of all the days on the 2011 calendar that came before, because on none of those days was he pitching in an actual game.
In fact, Aardsma was able to laugh about his 22-pitch, 10-strike performance on an injury rehabilitation assignment with the Rainiers, who play only a few miles down the road from Safeco Field.
"That (22-10) ratio is enough to get batters to back off the plate a little," Aardsma said with a laugh. "I was trying a little too hard, but I'm trying to get after it."
The good news for the Mariners was that Aardsma's left hip, the one he had surgery on in January, the one that kept him on crutches into March, didn't give him a moment's pain.
"I didn't even think about it," he said of his mind-set during warm-ups and the game.
Aardsma and manager Eric Wedge said simply the fact that Aardsma came out of the game with no hip pain was the most important part of the night.
He worked out before Wednesday's game against the Tigers and will do so again Thursday, when the A's come to play. Then he will rejoin Tacoma on Friday to pitch another inning.
The Mariners are thinking Aardsma will need three or four games at a minimum before he's ready, but the closer has his own ideas.
"I'll be ready as soon as I start making good solid pitches," he said. "When I can make one, then step back and make another. I can't afford to go out there where I'm going to make two or three mistakes in a row."
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