SAN DIEGO -- Padres reliever Joe Thatcher may only be playing catch, but he has a positive attitude and thinks he'll be back on the Padres' 25-man roster soon.
"We just played light catch for the first time [Tuesday], it's a first step -- 60 feet for about 10 minutes," said Thatcher, who has been on the disabled list with a strained left shoulder since March 22. "It felt good, no pain or anything. It's a first step in getting back. And I'm going to do the same thing today."
Thatcher appeared to be closing in on making a Minor League rehabilitation stint, but then he reported some soreness in his shoulder during a bullpen session at PETCO Park on April 5.
"It was real fustrating, because I felt good playing catch, I even played long toss, and it felt great," said Thatcher. "And I was of the mindset that I was over all the pain, and I was very optimistic and looking forward to going to rehab and [getting] back here as soon as possible But when I got on the mound and it didn't feel good -- it was definitely tough to swallow, because I thought I was over it."
Thatcher hopes that he will be able to rehab this time like he did last year.
"Last year, I was on the DL before the season started," said Thatcher. "We got the inflammation taken care of and I was fine the rest of the season; and felt great all year. This year, it's not cooperating like it did last year, but we're still confident that we can get over the imflamation and then go on and help this ballclub.
"We know how important the bullpen is for this team," said Thatcher. "It's an honor to be a part of what we did last year. It's hard to watch guys leave to go out to the bullpen and I'm stuck in the dugout just watching. But I'm doing everything I can to get heatlthy and back out there."