SARASOTA, Fla. — Tsuyoshi Wada realizes he’s still a long way to go in his tedious return from Tommy John surgery, but the Japanese left-hander still hopes to make his major league debut soon.
Wednesday was the Orioles’ first workout for pitchers and catchers, and Wada leaned up against a gate and watched as his teammates opened with long-toss throwing sessions, but he was cleared to participate in pitchers fielding practice drills.
It’ll still be about three to four weeks before Wada will be able to throw his first bullpen session, and he’s gradually building up his throwing distance in a long-toss program he began in November.
Wada signed a two-year, $8.15 million deal last offseason but was shelved in the spring and needed reconstructive elbow surgery in May. The Orioles believe he could make his major league debut as soon as this May.
“Obviously as soon as possible, that’s what I feel,” Wada said of his return, with athletic trainer Seob Yoon interpreting. “But I have to talk to the trainers and what they think and all of that, and we will decide together. Typically, with Tommy John it takes about a year, and May was when I had the surgery. So May or June, around there, if I could go up there and be with the Orioles that would be great.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he hasn’t spoken with Wada about his return yet, but he’s optimistic that the lefty, who compiled a 57-36 record and 2.94 ERA in five seasons in the Japanese Pacific League, will help a deep pitching staff this season.
“I'm going to let him get his feet on the ground,” Showalter said. “I've got a good feel. You can tell he feels better about himself, that he's moving forward and upward. I think he knows he's got the worst behind him.
“We know where his finish line is. I have a good feeling about him helping us this year. Of course, I have a lot of good feelings this time of the year.”Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times