Healing pitchers left behind in Peoria

Healing pitchers left behind in Peoria

SAN DIEGO -- The 2008 season might well be under way, but several Padres pitchers are still at the team's Spring Training facility in Peoria, Ariz.

Mark Prior, Justin Hampson, Clay Hensley, Tim Stauffer and Carlos Guevara are all on the disabled list and working their way back toward pitching in the Major Leagues.

San Diego manager Bud Black said Tuesday that all five are "progressing," but that he didn't expect any of them to be ready to embark on a Minor League rehabilitation stint anytime in the foreseeable future.

"None of them are 10 days away from a rehab game," Black said.

That doesn't mean those pitchers are increasing their workload or moving toward their goal of returning to the Major Leagues.

Prior threw to live hitters in a batting practice setting for the second time this spring and, according to Black, looked good.

Prior threw 35 pitches in his first batting practice session on March 27, facing hitters like Callix Crabbe, Justin Huber and Paul McAnulty. He's recovering from surgery on his right shoulder from nearly a year ago.

Prior is on the 60-day disabled list which means the soonest he could return to the Major Leagues would be mid-May, though June might be more likely as the Padres will want to test him possibly up to five times in a Minor League setting.

Hensley, also coming off shoulder surgery, though not nearly as serious as Prior's, threw off the mound in the bullpen on Tuesday. He's on the 15-day disabled list and said last week that he could be available to pitch sometime later this month.

"He threw well," Black said of Hensley. "He's confident from what I've been hearing."

Stauffer, who is on the 60-day disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis, threw long toss on Tuesday and Hampson (left shoulder tendinits) could pitch in the bullpen in the next day or so.

Guevara, the Rule 5 pick from the Reds, had been sidelined most of Spring Training by a hamstring injury and later a groin injury. Black said that he is "still working on the groin, trying to strengthen it, playing easy catch."

Guevara and Hampson are both on the 15-day disabled list.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.