Neshek doubts he'll return this year
Right-hander blogs on rehab progress with injured elbow
ANAHEIM -- When Pat Neshek injured his right elbow in early May, the pitcher held out some slight hope that he might still be able to help the Twins in 2008.Although Neshek continues to make progress with his elbow during his rehab in Fort Myers, Fla., he wrote on his blog Friday, "I do not think a return this year is going to happen." The right-hander, who suffered a partial tear in his ulnar collateral ligament on May 8, has progressed to throwing 75 feet without any problems. He's moving along in his rehab program, but the slower pace of the rehab doesn't lead Neshek to believe that he'll be back with the Twins this season. "Things have been going great still and I haven't had any problems, but I am on the Really Really Slow plan," Neshek wrote. "I feel like if I needed to pitch I could pull it off but the safe sure route is to take it slow and gradually get better and this is the route we are taking. "I don't mind it but it is extra tough sitting in FL watching the team in a playoff race. I'm jealous and wish I was with them. So for right now we are going to follow the plan that is laid out and see where I am in the next two months." Even though Neshek did not have to undergo Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery, the early indications were that the pitcher would not factor into the Twins' plans until the start of Spring Training in February. That seems like it will still be the case, although Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that he is waiting for word from the doctors or trainers before he rules out a possible return for Neshek. "I have not said no, he's not going to pitch for us and I haven't said yes, he's going to pitch for us," Gardenhire said. "We're going to let them do their work and see where we're at." Neshek also indicated on his blog that if things continue to go smoothly, he plans on pitching in winter ball. He has yet to advance to throwing off a mound, an event that likely won't happen until mid-September, so it will be some time before a decision on that will be made. For now, Neshek seems to be content with his progress. "Right now, things have been going perfect," he wrote.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.