WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- This doesn't feel like Spring Training camp for Brendan Donnelly. "It's more like fantasy camp for me," he said. "I'm just here for a few days to meet people." The 36-year-old Donnelly, a former All-Star reliever for the Angels who pitched last season for the Red Sox, reported to the Chain of Lakes facility on Monday to rehab with the Tribe from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery.
The surgery was performed on Donnelly's right elbow in August, and he had been working with trainers in Tempe, Ariz. "It's nice to be in a clubhouse," he said, "as opposed to a rehab." But Donnelly, signed to a Minor League deal by the Tribe last month, still has quite a bit of rehab ahead of him. He will remain in Winter Haven for extended Spring Training and is projected to throw his first bullpen session in mid-April. The Indians' goal is to have Donnelly pitching in games at some level by Aug. 1. So if he is going to help the Indians' bullpen, it won't be until the home stretch of the season. If Donnelly is healthy, there is reason to believe he can help. In 303 career appearances, he is 25-9 with a 2.88 ERA. His best season was 2003, when he went 2-2 with a 1.58 ERA in 63 games for the Angels. But Donnelly spent the last few years pitching in pain. He injured his elbow in 2004. He was trying to make a hurried comeback from a fractured nose suffered when a ball struck him during batting practice in Spring Training, and the arm began bothering him.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.