Lyon nearing regular spring routine
Astros GM Wade says reliever may take mound next week
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros general manager Ed Wade said Sunday that reliever Brandon Lyon is continuing to build strength in his right shoulder and he could be close to throwing off a mound for the first time this spring.
Lyon, who had a cyst in his right shoulder drained in January, has been throwing daily off flat ground at increased distances, but he still feels some weakness in his shoulder. Wade got an update Sunday from medical director Dr. David Lintner and head athletic trainer Nate Lucero.
"They think, from a health standpoint, he's fine and he just needs to continue to build the strength up," Wade said. "My guess is probably early in the week he'll get up on the mound, and we'll let him throw and continue to get comfortable with his surroundings. We're still of the mind he's going to be fine."
Wade cautioned that if Lyon does get on the mound in the next few days, it would be "touch and feel" and nothing of significance, and Lyon doesn't want to rush anything.
"I just still feel weak in my shoulder a little bit, and it's kind of hard to progress in your throwing program when you're not feeling 100 percent of your strength back there," Lyon said. "Obviously, with not knowing how some of this came up in the first place, you don't want to overdo it, especially with a lot of time left.
"I'm just taking it day by day and taking it how I feel. Today could be a day where I feel really good, or today could be a day where I don't feel as good. I'm going to go out there and focus on knowing you're going to get better and your strength is going to come back and mentally stay sharp."
Lyon, who signed a three-year, $15 million deal in December, had a cyst visible on the MRI before signing with the Astros, but it grew enough in size in a month that it was pressing on a nerve and causing discomfort.
"Usually, what you do in the offseason is build up your arm strength and strengthen your whole body, and you throw and build up your arm strength," Lyon said. "Right now, I'm trying to do both at the same time. I'm trying to throw and build up my arm strength by lifting weights and exercising. It isn't really working all the time really great, but it's part of the process. You have to go out here and continue to do it, and it's not feeling like I would if my arm strength was there."
Last week, Lintner checked Lyon's arm strength and told him the arm was coming back well. Lyon couldn't lift his arm in January if someone was applying pressure. The progress, and the fact he's not in pain, keeps Lyon positive.
"When I first got here, I had no strength at all, and it came back really quick," Lyon said. "I was expecting it to keep coming back really quick, and after talking to Dr. Lintner, he said 'Your strength will come back slower than you think.'
"I was really excited it was going to be really speedy, and now it's not going as fast as I expected it, but it's coming, and I'm moving along. Every day something gets better, whether my flexibility or a little bit of strength comes."
Lyon is the only Astros pitcher in camp behind schedule. The rest of the pitching staff has thrown batting practice twice and a couple of bullpen sessions.
"It's kind of weird," Lyon said. "I feel like I'm not doing very much right now like I usually do in Spring Training. There's still plenty of time left. I'm not too concerned about it. It's moving along to where I feel like I'll be ready to go."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.