CLEARWATER, Fla. – It was the first major step in Mike Adams’ comeback bid from the shoulder surgery that ended his 2013 season with the Phillies on June 19 of last year.
After an uncomfortable session throwing from flat ground Monday at Bright House Field, the 35-year-old reliever admitted to being nervous even though he was going to do nothing more than throw off a mound in the bullpen Thursday morning.
“When you’ve been through what I’ve been through as far as injuries and shoulder stuff, any kind of discomfort gets in the back of your head,” Adams said. “I talked to (trainer) Scott (Sheridan) the other day and he’s like, ‘Hey, you’ve got every right to panic a little bit. What you’ve been through, it’s normal.”
Adams, considered one of the best setup men in baseball when he signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the Phillies before last season, has had his share of health issues in recent years. In addition to the shoulder surgery in late July, he also needed surgery to repair a sports hernia in October. The previous October, before signing with the Phillies, he had surgery for Thoracic outlet syndrome, which impacted his performance during his final season with Texas.
“Before I came out here, I was nervous,” Adams said. “I was worried. Everything is an unknown. I don’t know how it’s going to go. It seems like every time I’m going out there, I’m hoping for the best. I’m just trying to stay positive. Every pitch could be the last pitch. Right now, I’m just kind of counting my blessings and going day by day. Every time I get through something, it’s just another checkpoint that I’ve hit.”
As it turned out, his fears were unfounded on this day.
“It went good – real good,” he said. “It was probably an 85-percent bullpen or so. With it being the first one, I wasn’t trying to let loose right off the bat. I wanted to make sure I got a good feel for throwing off the slope again and finding my arm slot.”
If all continues to go well, Adams said he is scheduled to throw in a spring-training game in the middle of March. But even then he’s not sure what his velocity is going to be.
“(Command) is going to be important,” Adams said. “It’s going to be very important. I don’t know velocity-wise where I’m going to be. I don’t know if I’m going to be 84-85 (miles per hour) or 89-90. That’s going to be the most important thing that I do command the ball and keep the ball down and change speeds. I think it’s going to be very important this year that I use my changeup just to keep them off balance a little bit.”
Adams will be paid $7 million this season.