"I kind of expected to go on the 60-day DL knowing that June 1 was kind of the tentative date," Prior said. "It puts me in a situation come May 10 where if I feel outstanding, it allows me not to push the issue and come back too early before I'm ready and then a month later saying, 'We might have pushed this.'"Prior had worked up to the point where he was throwing off a mound every fifth day, a routine that will be altered slightly now that he's throwing batting practice. The Padres have mapped out a schedule where he'll throw every fifth day, along with some extra side work, before throwing a simulated game sometime down the road. He will throw again on Saturday and then again on Tuesday. Black was asked when Prior might be ready for the first of what could be around five Minor League rehabilitation assignments. "That's so far away," Black said. "The timetable for him is not any time before 60 days. I think it gives him peace of mind as well where he knows he won't have to rush, even if he is feeling good. There is still a healing process that's taking place in the shoulder." If nothing else, Prior's batting-practice session on Thursday was a start. And after a lot of downtime, and down times, the right-hander is looking ahead to brighter days. "It was a lot of trying times after surgery. ... There were a lot of good days, a lot of bad days, a lot of stagnant days where nothing's really happening," Prior said. "I've pretty much approached this rehab, one, knowing that it's going to work and I'm confident that I'm going to back and pitching in the big leagues effectively. And two, understand that it's going to take time. You can't rush it. ... When it happens, it's going to happen."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less