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Bleich Resumes Throwing
"Anytime you can try and rehab it, it's worth the shot," Bleich said. "I tried to do that but we elected to go with the surgery because it just wasn't getting any better."
Bleich says it was kind of a bitter-sweet situation. No pitcher wants to succumb to surgery of any kind on the arm but at the same time he was thankful that there was a reason for his control problems and that there was a potential solution.
"I think a lot of the normal things that goes through the mind of anyone that's a competitor and loves the game would think," he said of what was going through his mind with the news. "Obviously it's frustrating. It kind of puts things in perspective, but at the same time you know in the back of your head that you weren't really feeling right.
"If you can view it in a positive way and trust the process, that you're better now physically, it could be a good thing. I think when you first hear that you need surgery it's a pretty big thing, especially when you've never had a surgery in your life, but the best way to handle the situation is to be positive about it."
He had arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder where they cleaned up the labrum on his throwing arm in late June and nearly immediately began his rehab process.
"I thought it was going to be a lot of rest but even the day after surgery I started moving it around, doing some pendulum swings to get that range of motion and doing some arm raises, some light stuff," he continued. "The internal-external rotation, some stretching, getting in some pool work, just a variety of things."
He says he started seeing immediate daily progress after the surgery and it culminated in the start of his throwing program on Monday. He threw 25 throws from 60-feet on flat ground and will continue to do so for another two weeks before extending his throws to 50 throws from the same distance for another two weeks.
"Things went well," he said after Monday's throwing session. "It was exciting because I hadn't done that in four months but I only threw 60-feet, 25 throws. I still have a long way to go but it went well.
"I've been really pleased with my progress thus far. I really haven't had any big setbacks. I've been on-date with everything. I went from lifting [just] legs to lifting the upper-body and I got my range of motion back pretty quickly. Everything has been really positive so far."
Just beginning the throwing program, however, his exact timetable for his return is still a little bit fuzzy at the current time.
"I don't know exact dates but I'll be on a mound during Spring Training," he said. "I feel like I'll be on a mound during January and then [throw] BP's during Spring Training, something like that.
"I'll probably have to hang back during Extended [Spring Training] for a couple of weeks until I'm full-go. I won't break camp most likely."
First things first though. While it's tough to not think about his eventual full return to the mound in game situations, Bleich can't help but be very pleased with his progress thus far, especially after starting the throwing program on Monday.
"I definitely feel like [the strength] is coming back. It takes time but even week to week progress, I feel a lot stronger. I feel like it's been positive so far. I'm right where I should be.
"Everything I've done recovery-wise has been great, no setbacks. That's all you ask for, no setbacks. I'll be here [at the minor league complex] the entire offseason getting ready for next year. I'm excited about it," he concluded.
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