Former Los Angeles Angels staff ace Bartolo Colon -- trying to come back from a torn rotator cuff -- has told the team that he has good range of motion and can throw virtually without pain, and that he is almost ready to return to action.
But medical staff has warned: Not so fast.
Heeding cautionary advice from team medical director Dr. Lewis Yocum, pitching coach Mike Butcher has limited Colon primarily to a long-tossing excercise regimen to restore Colon's strength and durability, and stave off potential inflammation which could shut down the portly pitcher even before his season begins, according to sources familiar with Colon's status on injured reserve.
Colon, 33, believes he can withstand the rigors of throwing off a mound now and that he will be ready to rejoin the rotation by opening day. But Yocum wants Colon to proceed much more slowly, building up his strength until he can be cleared for a start perhaps as early as the end of April, or perhaps sometime in May. So far Colon is ahead of schedule, having built up his long tosses to 180 feet every five days.