Closer Ryan about ready to return
Former All-Star feeling good, remains ahead of rehab schedule
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- If it were up to B.J. Ryan, he would pitch on Tuesday. Following his simulated action on Saturday, the closer said that he felt so good, that his elbow doesn't even come to mind when he makes throws. On May 10, Ryan had Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery.
"I'm not even really thinking about it anymore," said Ryan, who is scheduled to toss one more simulated game on Tuesday. "I feel pretty good. I'm just worried about the end results now."
The end results on Saturday included facing four Minor League batters at the Bobby Mattick Training Center and recording two strikeouts, a weak single and a groundout. During the one-inning outing, Ryan said he tossed a few breaking balls, but mostly fastballs and cutters.
Ryan said that the session on Saturday was far better than Wednesday's outing, in which the left-hander threw 18 pitches against a cast of Toronto's Minor Leaguers at the team's Minor League complex.
"I was trying to finish and not be crummy like I was the other day," Ryan said. "My fastballs were lively, and I was pitching in the zone. I was just focused on trying to finish, from start to finish, when I got to home plate."
Ryan has been working on repeating his delivery and maintaining a three-quarter arm slot. While he loosened up in the bullpen prior to Wednesday's appearance, he did not take much time to warm up before Saturday's action.
"I just had the mind-set to get out there like a game and make pitches," said Ryan, who threw 16 pitches. "I wanted to go make some pitches and get some people out."
Ryan said that he was happy with his fastball and cutter, but he mentioned how he needed some work on his breaking ball.
"I still missed some spots with it," Ryan said. "I spun a couple breaking balls up there, but it felt better. They're feel pitches, and I was trying to hit the spots I was looking for. I feel like I kept [the fastball] down and hit some spots there. I feel like I had a little better command of my cutter."
Ryan, however, feels he is ready to go.
"I'm tired of driving over [to the Minor League complex]," Ryan said. "I'd like to pitch [on Tuesday], but ['wait'] is what they're saying. When I do pitch, it'll be a little different than throwing at 10 in the morning over there."
Saturday's home game against Detroit would have placed Ryan a week ahead of schedule for rehabilitating his throwing arm. If Ryan reports no lingering pain following his appearance on Tuesday, he will appear in game action for the first time since April 14, 2007, when he walked off the mound in pain at Rogers Centre.
Chris Girandola is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.