J.A. Happ took another small step forward today, throwing 30 fastballs in a bullpen session, his second action off of a mound this week. While Happ still has a considerable amount of work to do, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said yesterday that the team plans on sending the lefthander to Clearwater on Tuesday when the Phillies leave for a road trip through New York, Florida and Atlanta.
"We're going to get him out on Tuesday and start progressing his rehab a little bit more aggressively," Amaro said on Daily News Live on CSN yesterday.
Happ likely needs at least two more bullpen sessions before the Phillies even think about sending him into game action. He has thrown nothing but fastballs since first climbing onto the mound on Monday, when he threw 20 pitches in his first successful bullpen session since he went on the disabled list on April 16.
Happ is officially listed as having a strained forearm, but his situation is a delicate one -- just because an MRI showed that there was no structural damage in the elbow doesn't mean that structural damage cannot develop -- and the Phillies have proceeded with care thus far.
"(The ball) is coming out of my hand better, more consistently," Happ said.
But he has yet to throw any offspeed stuff, and said yesterday that he still isn't "completely letting it rip."
With at least two more bullpen sessions before any potential rehab stint, and at the very bare minimum three rehab outings, it will be well into June before he has a realistic shot at returning to the active roster. And that is only if everything goes perfectly.
But for now, it's accurate to say that things are moving forward.