Bonderman takes another step in comeback bid

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Jeremy Bonderman's comeback bid is a step-by-step process this spring, and the 30-year-old took another solid stride Thursday with three innings of one-run ball against the A's.

The former Tigers starter hasn't pitched in a Major League game since 2010 but is finally healthy after a series of arm problems sent him into early retirement. In his first three appearances, Bonderman has allowed six runs and eight hits in six innings but gradually is getting his feet under him.

"I threw the ball a lot better," Bonderman said after his Thursday outing against the A's. "I just had one split that kind of came back that a guy hit for a home run. But it was good. Every outing has gotten better and better. My arm is recovering good, so no complaints so far."

Bonderman won 14 games for the Tigers in both 2005 and '06 and pitched for Detroit in the World Series in '06. Before his health problems arose, he was a quality Major League starter with a 93-94 mph fastball.

Just 10 months removed from Tommy John surgery, he's throwing in the low 90s this spring.

"I don't know where I was at [Thursday], but my last outing before this one I hit 92, which is good," he said. "If I can stay in that 90-92 range, I'll be pretty happy. Outs and results are the only thing that matters, so I'm not a big radar guy. But I do want to know what I have to work with."

As he continues to knock the rust off after nearly three years away from the game, Bonderman will see where spring leads. He knows he's far from assured a job as a non-roster invitee, but he's interested to see how things play out.

"I'm actually having a lot of fun," he said. "There are some days when I wonder why I'm doing it again, but most of the time I'm having a good time. I enjoy the guys. That's probably the one thing I missed the most. For me, it's just having something to do every day so I don't go stir crazy."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.