Mike Adams draws early rave reviews

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The questions about Mike Adams' health will persist because, one, the Phillies spent more money on him than any other player this winter and, two, he underwent a rare surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome.

The Phillies are thrilled with the early returns.

"Did you see him throwing over there today?" Charlie Manuel said. The manager raised his eyebrows. "He was throwing pretty good."

Pitching coach Rich Dubee concurred, even saying Adams was more aggressive than most others.

"[Dubee] kind of asked me at the end if that was the same intensity I've been going with the whole time," Adams said. "I didn't realize I was exerting that much. I don't really see any reason that anything is going to be a problem."

Adams, 34, was one of the top setup men in baseball before his injury derailed 2012. He is beyond encouraged by his response.

"Personally, I feel there's more in there to get out," Adams said. "If they felt the velocity was good, then that is a plus. The only thing that can happen now is to keep gaining strength in my shoulder and hopefully the velocity keeps going up. It's still early -- I was kind of sore today from all the running around [Wednesday] -- but I hope that's the case. A couple of guys told me, 'Hey you're feeling pretty good.'

"Compared to how I felt last year, it's night and day. Last year was a battle. I didn't know what was going on. I thought there might be something going on with my shoulder, but once I found out there was no structural damage, it eased my mind a whole bunch. Once I threw in December I noticed a huge difference then -- how the ball was jumping out of my hand."

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