Capps thrilled with back-field return to mound

Myers, Weaver also provide good news on Padres' health front

Capps thrilled with back-field return to mound

PEORIA, Ariz. -- It didn't matter that it was on a back field against Minor Leaguers. When Carter Capps took the mound for the first time this spring, it was nothing short of a big deal.

That he was on any mound throwing to live hitters a year and eight days after undergoing Tommy John surgery was an impressive feat in itself. So the one inning he pitched Thursday at the Padres' complex was a significant step.

"It's nice to face hitters, obviously -- that's huge mentally," Capps said Friday, feeling fine the day after his spring debut. "It's not really anything physically different. It's just the mental aspect. Somebody in there taking hacks is something you've got to get used to."

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Capps, acquired from the Marlins in the Andrew Cashner deal last July after his procedure, said it has been "mentally draining" to go through the rehabilitation process. But he's very much on the good side of the 12-18-month recovery process from Tommy John surgery.

So much so that he has the goal of being ready for Opening Day in his sights, and he could be available to the Padres in the late innings from the outset of the season.

"I've been fortunate," he said. "I haven't had any issues or anything. It's really all depending on when you get your range of motion back or if you get soreness in regular throwing, so it's very up in the air as far as how each individual reacts to the grind of the rehab."

So far, so good for Capps. He'll make one more appearance on the back fields before getting his first Cactus League action, but that first step toward Opening Day has gone smoothly.

"It was good for him to get out there, good for him to compete, good for him to be in a game setting," Padres manager Andy Green said.

Worth noting

Jered Weaver got his work in on a back field himself, along with veteran relievers Brandon Maurer and Brad Hand. Weaver threw four innings and issued 67 pitches, getting his work in and being hidden from the Dodgers in the night game.

"I'd prefer them to have as few looks at him as possible going into Opening Day," Green said.

• It's almost as though Wil Myers never came out of Thursday's game with neck spasms. He was right back at it Friday and back in the lineup for the game against the Dodgers, feeling perfectly fine after being pulled from the previous day's game in the fourth inning after feeling a twinge in his neck.

• Green watched the Venezuela-Dominican Republic game in World Baseball Classic action Thursday night and was pleased to see how all three Padres on the team performed. Yangervis Solarte got some playing time and responded with a pair of hits, young left-hander Jose Castillo continued to impress despite allowing an RBI single to Robinson Cano, and Jhoulys Chacin made the start and went 4 1/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits.

"It's fun watching him compete," Green said of the free-agent acquisition Chacin. "He's one of the ultimate competitors, in my mind."

John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnSchlegelMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.