Jim Cowsert-US PRESSWIRE
The latest dirt on the biggest bumps and bruises out West.
Madson to Hit the Mound
Halos fans got scary news last week when it emerged that new closer Ryan Madson hadn't picked up a baseball since the start of the month. Fans started worrying a bit less when his elbow MRI came back clean, but until he's able to throw off a mound on a regular basis without pain I don't think the residents of Anaheim are going to stop biting their nails completely. Madson is scheduled to throw off of a mound as early as today (Monday), reports Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com, so the club could feasibly have the right-hander on the active roster by mid-April if he experiences no further setbacks in his Tommy John recovery. Ernesto Frieri -- who is working on a new cut fastball -- will likely take on the closer role for the Angels until Madson is healthy.
Lewis, Soria on Recovery Trail
Colby Lewis, who has been out since July 2012 recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his elbow, had some good news upon his arrival in camp last week. The right-hander told Richard Durrett of ESPN that he hasn't "had any pain" in his elbow since his operation over the summer and that "there's never been a day where I’ve woken up and it’s been stiff or hard to get loose." Lewis hasn't set foot on a mound just yet but he is throwing regular long toss at about 120 feet. The 33-year-old hasn't set a firm timetable for his return, but early estimates of May or June don't appear too far-fetched. New bullpen arm Joakim Soria, who is recovering from an elbow injury of his own, also spoke with Durrett and believes he'll be able to make his debut in the Rangers bullpen by May.
Escalona Escalates Rehab
Sergio Escalona took a big step forward in his Tommy John rehab last Wednesday, throwing his first bullpen session since undergoing the elbow operation last March. The left-handed reliever told nearby reporters, including Brian McTaggert of MLB.com, that he was "very excited" to get on the mound again but that it was just one of several steps in his recovery and that he can't get "overexcited" about one bullpen session. If all continues to go well for Escalona, a spot in the bullpen on Opening Day doesn't appear entirely out of reach. The southpaw put up a 2.93 ERA in 49 appearances for the Astros in 2011.
Balfour Can't Walk It Off
Bad news for A's. Grant Balfour needed a minor procedure last Thursday to repair a torn meniscus in right knee and will miss four to six weeks as a result, per Casey Pratt of CSN Bay Area. Balfour experienced soreness in the knee late last season but didn't think anything of it as it subsided over the winter. The Oakland closer felt pain in the knee during his first bullpen session Wednesday and decided to take care of it immediately. Balfour is still hopeful that he will be healthy by Opening Day, but a six-week timeline would give him just a few days of prep time in camp.