"Basically right now I'm throwing 35-pitch bullpens of everything; curveballs, fastballs, and changeups," Jeremy Bleich said. "I'm doing that now. This is my first week throwing everything.
"As far as I know I'll go one more week, assuming I'll still be working up to being a starter, then I'll have two more weeks of 45 pitches [in bullpen sessions] and then following that I assume it will be [live] batting practice."
He had been throwing bullpen sessions for the past month, although the first two weeks was relegated to 25-pitch sessions of only fastballs before moving on to 30-pitch sessions the past two weeks where he was allowed to incorporate his changeup.
Finally throwing all three pitches off a mound for the first time on Tuesday, he is about five weeks away from making a full return to pitching in actual games.
"I feel pretty good," he said. "It's definitely taking some time getting comfortable. There are days where I don't feel as comfortable as others, but I actually feel strong. All of my time rehabbing has sort of come together and now I'm working towards that final piece.
"Any time you have an injury or an operation like that, you've got to give it time. You have to be patient with it and I've learned to do that, to be patient with the whole process."
Being patient isn't easy for a pitcher coming back from his first surgery ever, but Bleich says the most encouraging part about where he is in his rehab is just how much stronger his shoulder feels these days.
"Oh no question, every week I feel stronger," he said. "We're throwing a lot more long toss-wise, just drill work like a normal guy.
"When you're away from something for so long and you're just getting back into it, your body starts to remember the things it did. Just practice, I think that helps a lot. Every week I feel stronger."
Closing in on the anniversary of his last official minor league outing, Bleich, who last pitched on May 16th of last year against the Binghamton Mets, is chomping at the bit to get back into it.
"Being competitive and being away from the game for so long can be frustrating at times, but I think I've really learned to be patient with the process," he said. "When you're healthy and going along, all you have to think about is competing everyday.
"This gives you a little more perspective. Being away from competing, I most certainly miss it. I definitely miss competing."
With an approximate return timetable of early June, Bleich can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and he is just thankful that his rehab has gone as well as could be expected.
"I feel great. I'm happy with the results," he concluded.
Bleich Inching His Way Back
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