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Angels reliever Ryan Madson struggles to clear final hurdle

April 03, 2013|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Angels reliever Ryan Madson throws during a workout at Angel Stadium in the past winter.
Angels reliever Ryan Madson throws during a workout at Angel Stadium in… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

CINCINNATI -- Ryan Madson has taken a lap around the calendar in his rehabilitation from last April’s Tommy John surgery, but the Angels reliever has found the last hurdle the toughest to clear.

Madson felt tightness in his elbow after throwing a 40-pitch, high-intensity bullpen workout on March 27 and was shut down for about a week. The right-hander returned to a mound Wednesday but only for a light, 15-pitch session.

“Sometimes it’s a trust factor; sometimes it’s that little hurdle of discomfort you want to get over,” pitching coach Mike Butcher said of the final stages of rehabilitation. “It’s like a scab you’re picking at that doesn’t heal, and it finally goes away.”

Butcher considered Madson’s setback minor and insisted the closer is “not back to square one.”

Madson will increase his pitch counts and the intensity of his bullpen sessions “as he can tolerate,” Butcher said. An April return appears highly unlikely.

“As you go through the phases of rehab, this is common,” Butcher said. “Nobody likes to have a setback where you’re like, 'Gosh, man, is this ever going to be over with?' But he’s been pretty patient and understands these things do happen.”

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