Stephen Pryor threw his first bullpen session of the spring. Pryor threw 20 fastballs from the mound. While it may not seem like a lot, it was a major step for the hard-throwing reliever, who is recovering surgery on his right latissmus dorsi.
“I felt good today,” Pryor said. “I didn’t have any setbacks so that’s always a positive.”
Pryor didn’t try to do too much during the bullpen session.
“They wanted me to slow it down and take it nice and easy,” he said.
It’s been a long road back for Pryor. He partially tore the lat muscle on April 14 and never returned. He tried rehab the injury back to health but suffered a few setbacks. He underwent surgery to re-attach the lat in early August. While he feels healthy, Pryor knows he can’t be impatient.
“I’m antsier than I should be,” he said. ” But our training staff has been good about updating me and kind of rolling with it day to day and not making set plans and adjusting to how I’m feeling.
Does throwing a bullpen session put him on schedule, or ahead of schedule?
“At this point, I don’t think there is a schedule,” he said. “If I throw bullpens and I feel really good, then maybe I go into the game. Maybe it takes seven. Hopefully I can throw a few more bullpens then some live BP and get in the mix with everyone else.”
Manager Lloyd McClendon said that Pryor is slightly ahead of schedule, but the Mariners are going to be very cautious with his return.
“He threw extremely well,” McClendon said. “We’re very pleased.We’ll keep him moving forward.”
Pryor wasn’t too concerned with his health on getting back on the mound.
“I’ve been getting after it in long toss,” he said. “So I didn’t have that in the back of my mind. The main thing for me was getting the timing down and get the ball in the zone rather than airmail it.”
While he was recovering from the surgery, Pryor decided to eat healthier and get his body more flexible. He’s not a small guy. He was listed at 6-4, 245 in the media guide. But he looks leaner.
“Me and my wife have really focused on what we were eating,” Pryor said, also citing portion control. “I’m down 10 pounds since the surgery and 20 pounds from 2012. It’s been a steady thing. I’m feeling good. Hopefully the flexibility will help and keep my from being injured so much.”