Jered Weaver, who suffered a fractured bone in his left elbow, could be back… (Christine Cotter / Associated…)
HOUSTON—There was some encouraging news on the injury front Tuesday, as three key Angels pitchers on the disabled list—Jered Weaver, Ryan Madson and Kevin Jepsen—took steps toward returning.
Weaver, who fractured a bone in his left (non-pitching) elbow on April 9, played long-toss Tuesday and expects to begin throwing off a mound on Thursday. The right-hander will need several bullpen workouts before beginning a minor league rehabilitation assignment of at least two or three starts.
Barring any setback, the ace could return by late May or early June, a little later than the initial four- to six-week projection when he suffered the injury.
“That’s the tough part,” Weaver said, when asked if he was fighting the temptation to return too soon. “I feel good and want to be pitching, but I have to remember that a piece of my elbow is still broken and I have to take it easy. As frustrating as it is, it’s the right thing to do.”
Reliever Ryan Madson, who has suffered several setbacks in his return from Tommy John surgery, threw a 20-pitch, high-intensity bullpen session Tuesday and hopes to begin throwing in controlled-environment games in Arizona on Thursday or Friday.
If that goes well, the potential closer could begin a minor league rehab assignment late next week, which would put the right-hander in line to be activated in by the third or fourth week of May.
“My stuff feels good—I feel I can get major league hitters out with it, so it’s exciting,” said Madson, who was shut down for about two weeks after feeling tightness in the elbow after an April 19 simulated game. “My mechanics are a lot better now than they were two weeks ago. I’m getting my strength back.”
Reliever Kevin Jepsen, out since April 12 because of a strain under his right armpit, played long-toss Tuesday and expects to begin throwing off a mound by the weekend. He will probably need to face hitters and embark on a brief rehab assignment before being activated.
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