McGee throws off mound, Balfour faces hitters

McGee throws off mound, Balfour faces hitters

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Sidelined Rays were at various stages of returning on Tuesday.

Jake McGee, coming off offseason left elbow surgery, threw his first session off a mound, consisting of 20 pitches. The left-hander served as the team's closer during the second half last season. If all goes well on Wednesday, he can be expected to throw another bullpen session later in the week. McGee believes he can be back with the team by early May.

Grant Balfour, who just returned from a prolonged stay in Australia to be with his father (who died on March 10) threw 30 pitches to hitters on Tuesday. He is expected to throw in a game on Friday or Saturday. Balfour does not believe he will miss any of the regular season.

Brandon Guyer (oblique) was one of the hitters facing Balfour on Tuesday. The outfield hopeful also did some drills and, according to Rays manager Kevin Cash, "seemed fine." He is scheduled to play Wednesday in Dunedin.

Drew Smyly (left shoulder tendinitis) threw from 90 feet on Monday, was off on Tuesday, and is expected to throw again on Wednesday. The left-hander is not likely to make his first start of the season, which had been scheduled for the third game against the Orioles on March 8.

Alex Colome remains hospitalized with pneumonia and Desmond Jennings showed up to play in Clearwater, Fla., on Wednesday, but was scratched due to a stomach problem.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.