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03/13/09 4:45 PM ET
Westbrook throws off regulation mound
Right-hander happy about progress; Miller starts recovery
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Jake Westbrook calls it the "big boy" mound, and he was happy to be one of the big boys on Friday morning.
Not only did Westbrook, nine months removed from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow and six months removed from arthroscopic surgery on his right hip, get to stretch with his teammates for the first time this spring, he also got to throw a bullpen session off the Major League regulation 10-inch mound.
"I felt great," Westbrook said. "[My pitches] were all over the place, but that's not my main concern right now. My main concern is my health, and I've been really fortunate [to have no major setbacks yet]. I'm super excited about the way I'm feeling."
Westbrook wasn't the only recovering right-hander throwing at the Indians' Player Development Complex. Adam Miller, after getting shut down for a week and a half with right middle finger soreness, has started his expedited return-to-throw program. He began playing catch Wednesday and threw out to 75 feet on Friday.
"I felt pretty good," Miller said. "Not bad."
Miller was not sure when he'll begin throwing off a regulation mound again, but his original timetable called for two weeks before he's ready for what remains of the Cactus League exhibition season. Miller is doubtful to make the Opening Day roster now because of this setback. He'll likely open the season at Triple-A Buffalo.
And Westbrook will, of course, open the season on the disabled list, with an eye on simulated sessions during extended spring camp, and, if all goes well, a Minor League rehab stint beginning in late May or early June. The Indians hope to have him ready to rejoin the big league club by the second half of the season.
But Westbrook, who had been throwing off a five-inch mound, can't afford to look that far ahead. For now, he's firmly fixed on his bullpen sessions. He's expected to throw every Monday and Friday, incrementally building up his pitch counts. On Friday, he threw 10 pitches off the flat ground in front of the mound and 15 off the 10-inch mound.
"It was a good test for me," Westbrook said.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.