Cishek, Zych taking their time with recovery

Cishek, Zych taking their time with recovery

PEORIA, Ariz. -- While most of the 35 pitchers in Mariners camp will take the mound soon to begin ramping up for Cactus League games, relievers Steve Cishek and Tony Zych are on a slower track as they return from offseason surgeries.

Zych, 26, had a biceps tendon transfer in his right shoulder after last season and figures he's about two weeks from throwing bullpen sessions, with the hope of being close to start the regular season if everything goes right.

Cishek's situation is a little more tenuous, as the 30-year-old had microfracture surgery on his left hip, a more complicated issue than doctors expected when they repaired a torn labrum, an injury he pitched through during the final month of last season.

"It was a little more extensive," he said. "It set me back a little bit, but it shouldn't be too much more time on my recovery. It would have taken me four to six months even if it was just labrum surgery."

The former closer spent two months on crutches and says he feels like he's "just starting his offseason" workout program now. Cishek initially had hoped to be ready by the start of the regular season, but admits now that's unlikely.

"That was the goal originally, but I've never had surgery before, so it might have been a little lofty," he said. "But that's still the goal, and I'm just going to keep pushing myself if my hip allows it. Who knows? The sooner the better, obviously."

Cishek is limited to weight room work for now as he tries to rebuild the muscle lost after two months of immobility, but he hopes to begin playing catch again soon.

Zych strikes out the side

Zych is further along, able to throw at 105 feet and ready to move to 120 feet in his next outing. But he's going to be careful after pushing through his injury last year and ultimately paying the price when the shoulder just never healed.

"It just wasn't feeling right from really the first game I was up there," he said. "Then it was back-to-back [after attempting a late August comeback]. It was just tough. It honestly just didn't feel good. I realized then I was going to need to go through a little longer process and get it better."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.