SEATTLE -- Pitcher Joe Wieland's recovery from reconstructive elbow surgery continues to go very well, so much so that he's scheduled to throw live batting practice for the first time in Arizona on Saturday.
Last month, Wieland threw 100 pitches from the mound at the team's temporary Spring Training home in Surprise, Ariz. He's progressed since then, building strength in his right arm.
Now Wieland is ready for another challenge.
"It has gone well. My arm got a little tired … throwing three bullpens a week at 60, 70 and 100 pitches. But when you do that, your arm is going to fatigue," Wieland said. "Got me to a point where I'm ready to go."
Hitting all of his rehabilitation marks has helped Wieland's confidence.
"I think now it's gotten a little easier. You get to the 10-month mark and you start a normal routine. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now," Wieland said. "In the next couple of weeks, I'll have my first rehab assignment if all goes as planned."
Wieland and the organization are hopeful that he'll be ready to start a Minor League rehab assignment in late June. That first game would likely come in Arizona, in an extended spring game that does not count. But that won't matter to Wieland.
It's a game.
"The first one will probably be in Arizona … so there will be 10 people in the stands and maybe nine of them will be scouts," Wieland said.
As excited as he is to return this season, Wieland continues to be vigilant about not moving too fast.
"I still have to take it easy. I can't push it now. Once I'm off the DL and back to 100 percent you can, but now is not the time to have a setback. I still have to be a little cautious," Wieland said. "But at the same time, I'm very confident in how my elbow feels."