March 20, 2013
Not Breathing a Sigh of Relief
When Ryan Madson signed an incentivized, one-year, $3.5 million contract with the Angels in late November, the right-hander was “confident he [could] be ready by Opening Day.” That plan was derailed when Madson dealt with soreness in his surgically repaired elbow in early February, but manager Mike Scioscia still expected him to take over the ninth-inning job “at some point in April.”
Madson suffers setback in return from elbow surgery
Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register was the first to report on Tuesday morning that Madson had been shut down again, because of discomfort that flared up after a bullpen session that he threw last Thursday. Fletcher noted in his tweet that the “team has modified” Madson’s recovery timeline again, but details on the new target for the northpaw’s return were unavailable at that point.
Mike DiGiovanna, who covers the Angels for the Los Angeles Times, added that Madson is already well enough to play long-toss—a positive step, but also a reminder that he still needs to get back on a mound and work through a full strength-rebuilding program before he will be ready to pitch in games. Madson has thrown only two bullpen sessions since he reported to the Angels’ facility in Tempe, Arizona, in early February, and he has yet to complete one without requiring a hiatus immediately afterward.
The Angels’ investment in Madson was a relatively low-risk move, with bonuses tied to games finished and days spent on the active roster, so from a financial standpoint, his early-season absence is only a minor concern. However, it means that Scioscia will travel back to Anaheim with a relief corps much like the one with which he ended the 2012 season, minus Jordan Walden—who was traded to the Braves for Tommy Hanson—and plus Sean Burnett, another free-agent pickup who is ticketed for lefty set-up work and made his spring training debut last week.
Fantasy players that have already drafted Madson or are considering a late-round flier on the rehabbing righty, meanwhile, should plan to also select Ernesto Frieri, who will handle the save opportunities in his stead. Mike Gianella ticked Frieri’s auction bid limit down in advance of the latest Madson news, but it will almost certainly bounce back in next week’s update. Frieri has struggled in Cactus League play so far, allowing five runs in 5 1/3 innings while logging only one strikeout, but the hiccups can be attributed at least partially to his attempt to develop a changeup.