January 12, 2007

Padilla feels great

Kevin T. Czerwinski at Mets.com, writes about Juan Padilla and how he feels less than a year after his surgery:

Padilla, the Mets' resident slight-of-hand expert, has been in a good mood this week during the club's annual minicamp and not just because he's perfected yet another card trick. His recovery from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery has been problem free, so much so that Padilla could be able to compete for a spot in the bullpen less than a year after undergoing the procedure on his right elbow.

"I'm very excited," Padilla said. "I've thrown a few bullpens already. It feels pretty good. I'm getting strong and getting ready. I've heard from other people who have had the surgery that you might feel bad, but I haven't felt anything. I'm still waiting.

"I think I can be here and compete for a job in Spring Training. But those decisions are made in Spring Training. I'll come in ready and see what I can do. I just want the opportunity to get back and stay out there."

The Mets would like nothing more than to have Padilla, 29, back out there. He emerged as a valuable piece to the bullpen puzzle in 2005, going 3-1 with a save while posting a 1.49 ERA in 36 1/3 innings. But after experiencing pain in his elbow last March during preparations for the World Baseball Classic with the Puerto Rican team, an MRI revealed that Padilla needed surgery.

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