Stephens Still Pretty Far Off

Stephens still can't work on his offspeed pitches

Jason Stephens had Tommy John surgery last July. While he felt he was a bit ahead of schedule in his rehab at one point in the offseason, he says he's closer to the expected timeframe of returning within 12-18 months and he should be reaching an important milestone in his rehab next week.

"It hasn't been too bad," Jason Stephens said of his return from Tommy John surgery. "I knew what to expect. I knew it was going to be a 12-month rehab. There's not too many ways you can speed it up. I just needed to stay diligent in my work and work my way through it."

"I'm feeling good. I'm getting healthier every time and I feel a little bit stronger. It's a little tough in Spring Training though, the legs are a little dead. I'm working through it though and feeling good."

Relegated to just long-tossing and lifting weights for a majority of his rehab program, he reported to camp in great shape and physically stronger than ever.

"All the rehab stuff I did at home, there was a lot of lifting and stuff - everything I would have been doing, long-toss, lifting, getting stronger that way."

But while he looks physically strong, he's at the point in his rehab where he is still not able to throw his full complement of pitches in his arsenal.

"Yeah, all fastballs," he said of what pitches he is throwing right now. "I haven't done anything else yet. It'll come. In another two weeks or so, I'll be throwing changeups. It's moving along."

In fact, he's not only not able to throw anything but fastballs yet, but he hasn't even found his way on to a real mound to date.

"I've thrown three bullpens so far off of the little mound," Stephens revealed. "It's a shorter mound for rehabs and I get on the regular mound next week."

Getting on to a regular mound is the next big step in his rehab program. But still unable to throw his secondary pitches, including his great curveball, the fact is Stephens is still pretty far away from pitching in live games.

"I'm pretty far behind," he admitted. "There's no chance I can break camp or get in games. We're probably looking at mid-season, closer to the All-Star break."

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