Marshall could be close to facing live hitters

Reds reliever building up with throwing sessions, hopes to see Major League action this season

Marshall could be close to facing live hitters

CINCINNATI -- Sean Marshall was grabbing his glove to go on the field and throw on flat ground Wednesday. The Reds reliever is hoping that each throwing session is one step closer to pitching in games, something he hasn't done since June 10, 2014, because of shoulder injuries.

Marshall, who had his second left shoulder surgery on May 20 of this season to clean out scar tissue, has been throwing off of a mound in bullpen sessions every three days throughout this month. His next bullpen session -- expected either Thursday or Friday -- could determine if he gets to face hitters in a simulated setting.

"It depends on how I feel after today," Marshall said. "I'm averaging 35-40 pitches each bullpen, plus long toss. I'm just trying to break it down and build it back up."

Unlike his experience after last year's first shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum, Marshall has not had any setbacks since his second less-invasive operation.

In the bullpen sessions, Marshall has been throwing curveballs without issue and noted he had good range of motion and strength. But he would still like more improvement.

"I feel like I need a little more strength. That's what I've been working on," Marshall said. "It's just a matter of me feeling like my stuff is coming out competitively before I'd want to toe the rubber and face hitters. I'm making steady progress and pushing forward. I feel like I've recovered pretty well."

Marshall led the Majors with 231 appearances from 2010-12, but shoulder problems have limited him to 31 games from 2013-14. Making $6.5 million in 2015 and a pending free agent, the left-hander would like to pitch in big league games for the Reds before the season ends.

"I was hoping I'd be close to game ready this week or next week, close to the first week of September," Marshall said. "I don't want to particularly rush it. I want to make sure it's completely right before I go out there, get my adrenaline flowing and get into a competitive environment."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.