Rehabs Working to Get Ready

Earlier in the spring, Kale Garrison quipped, "I feel good so I don't have any excuses. If I don't show something, I'll have to go to work." Garrison is a lefthanded pitcher coming off shoulder surgery that confined him to five games in the Gulf Coast League last summer. He felt ready to return to action and seemed ready. Yet, once again, he's on the disabled list for shoulder soreness cropped up.

It's an example of what so often occurs with pitchers who have serious arm problems. They start feeling good and, naturally, long to return to the mound.

Yet, the therapists that work with them know to be cautious for there can be frequent roadblocks along the way.

Still, the perseverance show by the patient and his trainer can pay off. Righthander Jon Meloan, who had some muscle soreness this spring, is now with Columbus while there are some others who are close to being ready.

Righthander Jesus Castillo, who had Tommy John surgery last year, is once again throwing some innings in the extended camp games while building up his arm strength.

Lefthander Mike Megrew, returned by the Marlins after they took him in the Rule 5 draft only to discover that he wasn't ready to help them, is also throwing in camp games and is close to a comeback. In fact, he says he'll be ready to go next week but nobody in authority has indicated that they agree with him.

Lefthander Jonathan Figueroa, who had his shoulder scoped, is also in games on the practice fields at Dodgertown although he hasn't come close to regaining the form that made him such a bright prospect before his injury.

Some who had relatively minor problems in the spring could fit in soon including righthanders Nate Hochgesang (groin) and David Horlacher (biceps soreness), and lefties Orlando Rodriguez (eye infection) and Cody White (biceps ).

The best known of the rehabs, lefthander Ryan Ketchner had Tommy John surgery that cost him a spot on the L.A. 40-man roster, then suffered a further setback with a groin injury.

But Ketchner, who already has overcome the fact that he's 95 percent deaf to make himself a prospect, is battling back from this as well and may see some service before the year is done.

Righthander Jimmy Gilbert, signed last year even though he needed Tommy John surgery because he threw 98 mph in junior college, could return in the middle of June.

Righthander Ramon Paredes, who was the leading pitcher for the GCL Dodgers, had labrum surgery and could be back in August which is also the target date for lefty Derek Thompson, who made it up to L.A. last year but who's had a couple of operations since, the latest to remove scar tissue from his elbow.

Javier Guerra, a righthander who also had Tommy John surgery, is throwing bullpens now and progressing well so he might be ready in the near future but righthander Kurt Ainsworth, who was signed as a free agent after a shoulder operation blighted his once-promising career with Baltimore, has undergone another session under the knife and will miss all of this year as will righthander Kris Krise, a 12th-round draft pick last June.

You could assemble a formidable mound staff if all could get healthy. That's what physical therapist Dave Rivera and his staff are working on but it's a never-ending battle.