Orioles pitcher Jake Arrieta says he's thrown on flat ground several times since undergoing surgery Aug. 12 to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. He's had "zero complications," and remains ahead of schedule and optimistic about being fully recovered long before spring training.
"I'm healed up and ready to go," he said this morning at Dave and Buster's at the Arundel Mills Mall, where the Orioles are hosting 90 third- and fourth-graders from City Springs Elementary School in Baltimore as part of their 33rd annual OriolesREACH holiday party for kids.
Arrieta said he's progressed to throwing from 120 feet.
"I started my rehab pretty shortly after surgery," he said. "I focused on mobility. That was really the first thing, try to get as much extension back as possible without pushing it too much. There's a window in there where, if you go too far, you might run into a little complication, but I paired up with a physical therapist who's a hand and elbow expert for 20-plus years, so I was very confident going in. She had a good idea of what she was doing. We kind of went through that process and I gained all my strength back very quickly and was able to get back to workouts a month, two months after surgery. So I'm very encouraged by the way things went.
"Dr. (Lewis) Yocum told me that a full recovery was three months. I was fully recovered at two months. I didn't want to push things too far, knowing I had ample time to get ready for throwing and workouts, but I just felt like I was at the point where I could kind of elevate my training at an earlier stage, so I went ahead and did so to kind of get ahead of the curve, get back to where I was before surgery. I think that it's definitely going to be a much better feeling going out there knowing I won't have that feeling in the back of my mind that, in the fourth of fifth inning, am I going to get to a point where I can't even extend and I'm going to be laboring through my outing.
"I'm at the point now where there's zero complications and I'm 100 percent."
Arrieta said the first few times he threw on flat ground were for "psychological reasons," to mentally let himself know that he was healthy. He went from light-tossing 10 to 15 throws at 60 feet to backing up to 120 feet and putting "a little arc underneath it to get that feeling back of my motion and finding my arm slot."
Also, I can confirm reports that the Orioles are close to signing Japanese left-handed starter Tsuyoshi Wada, who went 16-5 with a 1.53 ERA in 184 2/3 innings. He walked 40 and struck out 168.
Wada would be the first Japanese player signed by the Orioles since Koji Uehara. That door to the Asian market never slammed shut.
FOX Sports is reporting that the deal is for two years at $8.15 million with a 2014 option.
I'll have to put Wada on the back burner while I'm interviewing various Orioles at this morning's function.
The Sun first reported that a deal was close with Wada.