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February 12, 2013

Surprise Tuesday morning report: Pitchers on the mend

SURPRISE, Ariz. – A layer of frost greeted the Texas Rangers’ pitchers and catchers who reported to spring training on Tuesday.

That didn’t dampen the spirits in the clubhouse, though, as a new season of baseball officially began. A few pitchers, Colby Lewis, Joakim Soria and Justin Miller, are taken it slower at the start of spring training as they recover from season-ending surgeries last year. Here's an update on all three:

* Colby Lewis, rehabbing from surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow, is throwing long-toss at 120 feet. There have been no setbacks so far for Lewis, although it’s still too early for him to have a target date.

“My body is going to tell me when I’m ready, my arm is going to tell me when I’m ready,” Lewis said. “If it’s before, it’s before. If it’s on time, then it’s right on time. I definitely don’t want to push the issue and come back a couple weeks early or a month early and not be ready for the push.”

Lewis went on to say he has had no issues getting his arm loosened up and no day-after effects.

“I feel like it’s moving forward great,” Lewis said.

* Reliever Joakim Soria, coming back from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery, threw a 15-pitch bullpen session Monday and had no pain in his arm this morning. It was his first time throwing off a mound since the surgery, which was a big step forward for him.

“The 15 pitches were all perfect, my arm felt really good and my mechanics were really good,” Soria said. “The first pitch I started feeling the downhill motion and it’s great. It was an exciting day.”

Soria is scheduled to throw 15-pitch bullpen sessions Wednesday and Friday and, if all goes well, he’ll then increase it to 30 pitches.

If he stays on track, Soria could join the Rangers at some point in May.

* Minor league right-hander Justin Miller, also recovering from Tommy John surgery, is scheduled to throw his first bullpen session today.

“It’s been kind of tough to sit back, but I’ve just focused on my rehab and looked at the long run instead of the short run,” Miller said. “It’ll be nice getting back on the mound today.”

* Randy Wells (elbow scope) and Kyle McClellan (shoulder surgery) are full go for the start of camp.

* Neftali Feliz and Matt West, who each had Tommy John surgery on Aug. 12, are throwing out to 60 feet.

* Roman Mendez, recovering from a stress fracture in his right elbow, is throwing out to 120 feet.

-- Drew Davison

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