Brewers' Gagne throws simulated game
Injured closer feels comfortable after facing hitters
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers injured closer Eric Gagne threw a simulated game Saturday afternoon before the Brewers' night game against the Baltimore Orioles.The right-hander -- who has been on the disabled list since May 23 with tendinitis in his right rotator cuff -- threw 31 pitches to hitters off the Miller Park mound before the home team took batting practice.
"It's good to face hitters, see a little reaction," Gagne said. "It's a step you've got to take. I can't wait for the next step, see a little competition."The veteran was able to throw all of his pitches at near-full intensity with no problems on Saturday. His main concern was improving his command of the strike zone. "I was throwing everything," Gagne said. "The command was pretty good. That's what I was working on today. I was up in the zone a little bit, but usually for me when the intensity goes up, the ball goes down [in the zone]. "I'm really feeling the ball coming off my fingers well. It feels really good, and there's no aftereffect, that's the main thing." The soreness and inflammation that had forced Gagne to the DL has subsided, and he's felt no ill effects from his throwing regimen. "[The shoulder] has been really good," Gagne said. "I've been throwing every day, so that's really good. Still throwing at 90 percent, I think you get to 100 percent when the adrenaline from a real game situation kicks in." Gagne will likely get the opportunity to get that adrenaline pumping soon. The next step in his return from the DL will probably be a rehab assignment with the Brewers' Triple-A affiliate in Nashville. Gagne expects to stay in Milwaukee to receive treatment when the team leaves for its next road trip on Sunday night and then fly out to Nashville on Monday night to begin his rehab stint. He'll pitch for Nashville on Tuesday, starting the game to keep the situation under control, and then again on Thursday before hopefully rejoining the team when it makes its annual trip up to the Metrodome to face the Twins. "I think so, that's the plan," Gagne said. "We still have to take it day-to-day though, but hopefully that's the plan."
Dave Fultz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.