Peacock feels great after throwing off mound

Right-hander back on the hill for first time since surgery in October

Peacock feels great after throwing off mound

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros right-hander Brad Peacock, who underwent arthroscopic surgery Oct. 6 to repair a torn labrum and remove bone spurs in his right hip, threw off the mound Sunday for the first time since the surgery and said he felt great.

Peacock tossed 20 fastballs to catcher Hank Conger under the watchful eye of head athletic trainer Nate Lucero and was pain-free. In fact, Peacock felt so good the training staff had to remind him to back it down a little bit when he began throwing at a level higher than the 50 percent intensity it wanted.

"My arm felt great and I'm definitely excited about it," Peacock said.

When Peacock had the surgery, his rehab specialist told him it would be a process that would take time, something Peacock took to heart. While he couldn't throw, he focused on getting in better shape and dropped 28 pounds in the winter.

"To tell you the truth, I did not expect to be on the mound right now," he said. "I had a great rehab guy who did an awesome job. I'm on the mound and feeling good."

Peacock won't progress on the same path as fellow pitchers. He'll take two days off in between his throwing sessions before getting back on the mound Wednesday.

"Wasn't it great to see him on the field?" manager A.J. Hinch said. "He's really worked hard this winter for this day. Obviously, it's the next step in his progression to get back, but there was a sense of relief and a big smile on his face after he threw his 'pen. I'm not sure anybody can relate to how much work he had to do to get back on the mound relatively on time, if not a touch earlier."

Peacock began last season in the bullpen before making 24 starts, setting career highs in appearances (28), starts, innings pitched (131 2/3) and strikeouts (119). He went 4-9 with a 4.72 ERA.

Peacock, who tenuously held down the No. 5 spot in the rotation late in the year, dealt with back problems in September, which could have been a result of his hip injury.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.