GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Although he was coming off shoulder surgery, Reds lefty reliever Sean Marshall's smooth offseason throwing program had given him every indication that he could be in for a setback-free spring. But unlike elbow-procedure comebacks that often progress quicker, shoulder rehabs are a trickier proposition.
Marshall is now a question mark for Opening Day after not throwing for the past week and a half. After arriving to camp about two weeks early, his throwing program was shut down because of inflammation in the shoulder.
"I was probably a couple of weeks from finishing my throwing program before I got out here," Marshall said. "I repeated my long-toss part every day and I started getting some cuff inflammation. I got here and noticed it, and they slowed me down a little bit until I was 100 percent healthy before advancing to flat ground and mound work. They kind of shut me down. I'm doing more stability stuff and my shoulder feels great the last couple of days. I am just waiting for the green light to resume my long-toss program."
Shoulder problems have limited Marshall in each of the last two seasons to just a combined 31 games. He had a 7.71 ERA in 15 games last year amid two disabled-list stints before having surgery on June 24 to repair a torn labrum.
"I had a great offseason of therapy," said Marshall, who worked out near his Chicago home. "That's pretty much what I did every day this offseason, dedicated to making a comeback. I threw every single Monday, Wednesday and Friday that the throwing program scheduled me for. There were no hiccups. I blasted right through it. I got to the long toss at the 120, 120-plus feet part of it, I started feeling the fatigue at the end of sessions."
Manager Bryan Price said the medical staff was optimistic Marshall could resume playing catch shortly. Once that happens, he could get on a mound fairly soon after if there are no more setbacks.
"I feel as close to 100 percent now as I did when I started the throwing program," Marshall said. "Hopefully my arm strength will still be there when I pick it back up."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.