Norton Showing Up

Tim Norton might be ready in the second-half

TAMPA, FL - Working his way back from rotator cuff surgery last season, Tim Norton, who is in the middle of his throwing program and on pace to return to the mound at some point this coming season, says he is feeling very strong these days.

"I've got two more months of throwing before I get on a mound," Tim Norton revealed. "Right now I'm just playing catch with my four-seam, just tossing it.

"It feels good. I think it needs some long-toss before I get on the mound, but it feels fine, there's no pain, and I haven't felt this in a couple of years now. I'm pretty happy about it."

Just starting to throw sets of 50 throws from 90 feet on flat surfaces, he has another month from that distance before stretching it out to 120 feet. After another month of that, he should be ready to move up to the shorter rehab mound.

To break up the monotony of his rehab process, the Yankees have allowed Norton to participate in pitchers' fielding drills during Spring Training with the one directive that he's not allowed to make any throws.

Showing the same kind of exuberance he had before his surgery, the former University of Connecticut hurler has brought a ton of energy to the otherwise mundane practices and he says he brings the same approach to his rehab.

"The drills I can do I like to go out there, do a little something, and have fun with it," he admitted. "I just want to show up everyday and push it to the edge but don't fall off. I want to get as far as I can [in his rehab] each day until I think it's good enough."

Still two full months away from even stepping up on a rehab mound despite feeling quite strong right now, Norton is also very realistic in his immediate expectations for the 2008 season.

"My goal for this year is just to get healthy and get some innings towards the latter half of the year, and whatever it is in the fall or winter leagues," he simply stated. "I just want to get completely healthy and come back next year and just feel 100 percent, like I never had surgery. That's my ultimate goal.

"As far as where I'm pitching I don't think I'm going to make it to the Bronx this year or anything like that. Wherever it is I just want to get innings, I just want to get healthy. I don't care where they stick me. This is the year just to get some innings healthy. I just want to get on a mound."

Realizing the prognosis for making a complete return from rotator cuff surgery isn't nearly as optimistic as those coming back from Tommy John surgery, the right-handed hurler has little doubts in his abilities to make a successful return the mound.

"With how my arms feels right now - whenever I come back, whether it's two, three, four or five months from now - I feel it's going to be really good. I can let it rip pretty much right now throwing the ball. I don't think it's a question of if, just a question of when."

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