Kelley encouraged after bullpen session

Kelley encouraged after bullpen session

SEATTLE -- Injured Mariners reliever Shawn Kelley threw a 40-pitch bullpen session Saturday, and his post-workout assessment bodes well for his recovery from inflammation in his right elbow, which has kept him on the disabled list since June 16.

He called his bullpen work "phenomenal," but he stopped short of saying he was 100 percent. Manager Don Wakamatsu said Kelley will throw another session Tuesday, and if that goes well, Kelley expects a simulated game and rehab assignment.

"I won't go that far [saying he's fully healthy]," Kelley said. "Just because I feel great in the bullpen doesn't mean I'm game-ready, but it's definitely right where I need to be to get there. I couldn't be happier with how I felt today."

Kelley pointed to last season as a reason to be cautious. He collapsed on the mound with an oblique injury on May 5 and stayed on the disabled list until July 2. No matter how good he feels in practice or even in Minor League outings, Kelley said the true test for his recovery won't come until he pitches next for the Mariners.

"It's even another level when you're here, you've got fans in the seats, and every game means a lot," he said. "It's your career. It's what you've worked for. There's that next level of intensity there that I don't think you can simulate."