LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Now that Mike Minor has spent the past couple of weeks completing the stretching exercises prescribed by Dr. James Andrews, he is hopeful that his left shoulder will be more cooperative than it was over the past year.
Minor will get a better sense of where he stands now that he has started throwing again. He began his program on Tuesday, when he completed two sets of 15 throws from a distance of 60 feet. The Braves southpaw had been shut down since he experienced tightness around his left shoulder during his second live batting practice session of the year on March 3.
When Dr. Andrews examined Minor's shoulder earlier this month, he confirmed the diagnosis provided by previous MRI exams, which showed no structural damage. The surgeon prescribed multiple stretching exercises with the hope that an increased range of motion would take some stress off the bothersome shoulder.
Minor said recent tests have indicated that his range of motion is back to where it was before he began battling shoulder discomfort during last year's Spring Training. The shoulder continued to bother him as he posted a 4.77 ERA in 25 regular-season starts.
But Minor's true test will come over the next couple of weeks, as he steadily increases his effort level while throwing and eventually feels the added of adrenaline of pitching to batters.
If Minor makes steady progress, there is a chance he could be ready to join Atlanta's rotation during the early part of May. But for now, he is not setting any timetable for his return.
"I think it's really going to be about seeing how I feel every day," Minor said. "If I feel strong, and I think I can progress, I think they're going to let me. I've already done all that work. I know taking the time off is a big deal, too. So, it's just a matter of how much strength did I keep and how quickly I can get back into throwing shape."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.