Notes: Reitsma, Lowe return to mound
Relievers working way back after arm surgeries last season
PEORIA, Ariz. -- It was fitting Chris Reitsma and Mark Lowe walked off the field together on Saturday after each threw a scoreless inning for the Mariners in a 5-2 loss to the Athletics.It was the first Spring Training outing for both, who were soulmates in undergoing elbow surgeries last year. "Even though it was just spring training, I said to Reitsma, 'That's fun. I forget how fun that is,'" Lowe said. "I've been waiting about six months to get back out there." Lowe began his career with a streak of 17 2/3 scoreless innings in 2006 before needing two elbow surgeries. The first was in October 2006 and the second during Spring Training last year, as he spent most of last season rehabbing. Lowe said he thought after the initial surgery he would be fine, but "it didn't work out that way." "It stinks when you can't pitch," Lowe said. "It's in the past. I'm ready to go. I felt incredible." His first five pitches were called balls (even though Lowe said he thought three were good pitches) and he allowed a single to Mike Sweeney, but retired three A's on flyouts. Reitsma was 0-2 with a 7.61 ERA in 26 relief appearances and made three trips to the disabled list last season before having elbow surgery. He needed only 12 pitches to get out of the sixth unscathed, allowing a harmless two-out single. "It's a good step," Reitsma said. "I feel comfortable on the mound. It's nice not to think about your elbow. I've got nothing to lose. I worked my fanny off. I've done everything to prepare physically and mentally. Now it's just going out there trying to have some fun. That's how I'm viewing it, with a carefree attitude and just being aggressive and competing." He said he threw all his pitches -- fastballs, breaking balls and changeups. "It wasn't really the breaking ball that hurt me as much as the other pitches last year," Reitsma said. "It was the full extension on the fastball and changeup. But I'm not thinking about anything like that right now. That page is turned. I'm feeling healthy now. I don't really want to talk about the elbow anymore." Manager John McLaren said he liked the way both threw. "It would be pretty big," McLaren said of both being able to stay healthy all year. "I like the presence of both of them on the mound. Reitsma is a veteran and Lowe looks like a veteran out there."
Alan Eskew is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.