Roy Oswalt's return to the majors is drawing closer. The righthander threw another bullpen session before Sunday's game and is scheduled for his first rehab outing Wednesday at triple-A Lehigh Valley.
"It felt good," Oswalt said.
Oswalt will throw about 60 pitches in that first rehab outing, and while he is optimistic he will require only one such game, that is unlikely. But even if he needs another start, Oswalt could still be in line to return during that final game at San Francisco on Aug. 6.
With the help of first-base coach Sam Perlozzo and head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan, Placido Polanco took the field Sunday morning. Perlozzo hit Polanco some grounders at third. Sheridan played first base.
Polanco also took swings in the cage and expects to participate in batting practice with the rest of the team for the next two days. A rehab assignment could begin Wednesday, making next weekend a realistic return date.
Joe Blanton is scheduled for tests Tuesday that could finally reveal the issue that has plagued his right elbow all season. All of the focus to date has been on the ligaments inside the elbow. Numerous tests -- plus a visit to renowned orthopedist James Andrews -- have shown no structural damage to the ligaments.
But now doctors are searching for nerve damage in Blanton's elbow. A few baseball players have notably suffered before from Thoracic outlet syndrome -- which is effectively a cluster of pinched nerves. If you'll recall, Blanton was originally diagnosed with an impingement of the right elbow.
Pitchers who have suffered from this before are Kenny Rogers, Noah Lowry, Matt Harrison, Aaron Cook and Jeremy Bonderman. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the Boston catcher, also had the syndrome. The Yankees thought Phil Hughes had it earlier this season, but he was never officially diagnosed with it.
Either way, the prognosis for Blanton -- who is still owed $8.5 million in 2012 -- is troubling.
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