Rodney doesn't expect to be ready
Results not progressing in bullpen session Saturday
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Fernando Rodney threw his second side session in three days on Saturday morning, taking much of the same format as the first one two days earlier in his effort to return to game action from shoulder tendinitis. Even he now agrees, however, that it's unlikely he'll be ready for Opening Day.
Rodney threw about 37 pitches, all fastballs, in a session that lasted about six minutes. Though Rodney said he felt strong, the results weren't quite as encouraging.
"Not as good as he was two days ago," manager Jim Leyland said, going off the report on the session.
It wasn't any specific verdict on how Rodney felt or how his command was, pitching coach Chuck Hernandez explained.
"It wasn't as good as the other day," he said. "I don't know if it was a regression."
More likely, coaches believe, Rodney's first mound session in about three weeks resulted in some carryover the next time out. He had been battling shoulder tendinitis since late February.
"When you've been through this battle like he has been over the last year and a half or so, you start to not be perfect in deciphering what's pain and what's normal soreness. It all starts running together," Hernandez said.
Rodney will have Sunday off, then play catch on Monday. If that goes well, he'll throw a third bullpen session.
It isn't the ideal scenario for any chance at Opening Day, but that's quickly becoming less and less of a possibility. Rodney's hope has now transitioned to being back as soon as he can without risking further injury.
"For Opening Day, I don't think we'll be ready," Rodney said, "but we'll be close."
One injured reliever who is now ready is left-hander Clay Rapada, who threw his session of batting practice as scheduled on Saturday. He threw for about eight minutes to a small group of hitters that included Scott Sizemore and Michael Hollimon.
"Everything was real good," Rapada said, "better than expected, better than in the warmup bullpen."
It went well enough that he won't have to throw enough. Hernandez said he'll be cleared to pitch in Tuesday's game against the Nationals. It'll be his first game appearance of the spring.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.