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Monday, March 01, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

Major League Baseball
Cactus League notebook: Mulder returns, says he'll be ready

By The Associated Press

Mark Mulder
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PHOENIX — Mark Mulder, Oakland Athletics left-hander, threw off a mound for the first time in more than a week yesterday and said he'll be ready to take his regular turn when spring-training games start.

"It won't be a problem," Mulder said after throwing 36 pitches in his first action since having back spasms about a week ago. "I'll throw to hitters in a day or two, and we only start with two or three innings the first time out. I feel fine."

Athletics manager Ken Macha said the team is being careful in bringing Mulder along.

"This whole thing might end up as nothing," Macha said. "We're just being extra cautious. If he's fine, we'll get him back on schedule."

Pitching coach Curt Young monitored the outing and said Mulder is right on schedule.

"He was out there to get his game ready," Young said. "Stuff-wise he looked good. If he comes out of it OK, he can throw in a batting practice or go on the side. It won't matter."

Originally scheduled for 30 throws, Mulder went over the limit to test all his pitches.

"I didn't want to shorten things up and not get the pitches I needed to get in," he said. "It was fine."

Mulder has been exercising with strength and conditioning coach Clarence Cockrell on the side while missing drills.
 
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Macha said he'd like to see Mulder get in the equivalent of seven innings, or 100 pitches, by the time the A's break camp at the end of March.

Note

• A day after feeling discomfort in his left side, San Diego Padres RHP Jake Peavy was in a joking mood.

"Obviously, this kills the golf game," Peavy said. He could afford to be lighthearted because he felt better than he did on Saturday, when he felt a twinge while playing catch before his mound session.

The injury was cause for some initial concern because it's the same muscle he strained June 28 at Seattle, forcing him to pitch in some degree of pain until shortly after the All-Star break.

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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