One positive development for the Braves came when closer Rafael Soriano completed a 32-pitch bullpen session while feeling minimized discomfort in his right elbow. Soriano was encouraged enough to predict he could make his Grapefruit League debut on Tuesday or Wednesday.
"It feels better today than yesterday, and yesterday all I did was play catch," said Soriano, who began feeling some discomfort above his elbow last week. "Today, it was just a little bit sore, but not the same."
As for top setup man Peter Moylan, he said the elbow discomfort that prevented him from making his scheduled appearance against the Tigers on Thursday is similar to what he felt during Spring Training last year and midway through the 2007 regular season.
Moylan didn't miss any time last year and is confident that he could pitch in a game on either Monday or Tuesday. The Australian right-hander said he first felt the discomfort after completing a scoreless inning against the Dodgers on Feb. 29.
"We figured instead of letting it be one of those injuries that keeps coming back and coming back, we'd just knock it out now," Moylan said. "It wasn't really an injury. It was more of an annoyance than anything."
Like Moylan, Soriano felt he simply needed to rest his elbow when it began flaring up last week. After playing long toss the past few days, he arrived at the stadium on Friday and convinced the medical staff to let him complete this bullpen session, which consisted primarily of fastballs.
"Today, I asked them to let me throw and everything was good," Soriano said.
Braves manager Bobby Cox was impressed with the velocity Soriano showed during his bullpen session and confirmed the closer could pitch in a Grapefruit League game midway through next week.
"Soriano threw really well," Cox said. "We'll see how he feels tomorrow."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less