Mariners reliever Steve Cishek played catch on Tuesday for the first time this spring.

Share story

PEORIA, Ariz. — After being relegated to the weight room and training room since reporting to spring training on Feb. 14, Steve Cishek finally got to step on the field and feel like a baseball player again, even if it was just for about 15 minutes.

“It was an exciting day for me, maybe not for the average person,” he said.

On Tuesday afternoon, Cishek made a big step in his recovery from offseason hip surgery. The tall right-hander got out and played catch from 60 feet for the first time this spring. Head athletic trainer Rick Griffin stood by and watched closely as Cishek make 25 throws.

“I felt good,” he said. “The first few throws were a little tentative. But once they told me to forget about it and pretend like nothing happened, it made it a little easier.”

Cishek underwent surgery to repair a torn left labrum in his hip on Oc. 12 in Nashville with Dr. Thomas Byrd performing the procedure. But the surgery became a little more invasive when it was determined he would also need micro-fracture repair in the hip. That extra procedure has helped put Cishek slightly behind in his recovery. He’s spent much of the time  in Arizona strengthening the area around surgery and dealing with the residual stiffness. It didn’t feel completely normal while playing catch, but that was to be somewhat expected. 

“There’s some discomfort, but the joint has to get used to that motion again,” he said.  “But I was surprised how good it actually felt.”

Cishek has kept his arm active with a series of shoulder exercises.

“My arm felt great,” he said. “It felt like I was just flicking the ball and it was coming out with some life behind it.”

The plan is for Cishek to play catch every other day to start with depending on how the hip feels the following day after each session. At that rate, it seems impossible for him to be ready by opening day or mid-April.