Erickson likely to begin soft-tossing tomorrow

Elbow better `by inches and degrees,' pitcher says

March 16, 2000|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Sidelined starting pitcher Scott Erickson plans to toss a ball tomorrow for the first time since undergoing arthroscopic elbow surgery for the removal of bone chips March 3.

Erickson confirmed his plan, which he said is subject to change, after being examined yesterday by head trainer Richie Bancells. Erickson is able to straighten his arm, though with some difficulty, for the first time since waking up Feb. 28 with inflammation and stiffness in the area.

"It's better, but it's still being measured by inches and degrees," said Erickson, who enjoyed only about 70 percent range of motion before submitting to surgery. "We'll see what happens."

Erickson's rehab has so far been limited to performing range-of-motion exercises and martial arts exercises -- "the Bruce Lee stuff," as Erickson described it.

The club has set a tentative goal of May 1 for Erickson's return, but the No. 2 starter was unable to say yesterday whether the projection applies to his return to the rotation or merely his beginning a rehabilitation assignment at one of the club's minor-league affiliates.

"I'm not looking that far ahead right now," Erickson said. "Right now, I'm looking forward to straightening my arm without discomfort."

Erickson was not alone in receiving treatment. Infielder Jeff Conine continues to recover from a severe bout of flu; center fielder Brady Anderson continues to deal with numbness in his left foot related to a nerve damaged last Saturday; and left fielder B. J. Surhoff has played only once the past four days -- and then as designated hitter -- while dealing with a leg condition.

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