Arthur Rhodes pushing himself to come back from elbow surgery Print
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Sunday, 17 February 2008 12:12
MLB Headline News

 PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) -Arthur Rhodes could have called it a career, but his arm and mind wouldn't let him.
Not even having Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow and sitting out all of 2007 convinced the Seattle reliever to hang it up.
If anything, the 38-year-old left-hander is more determined than ever to get back on the mound.
``I was frustrated last year,'' Rhodes said. ``I had a good spring training but I just came up hurt. I was mad and disappointed. I just told myself in the offseason, 'Hey, you've got a new arm now, a new elbow. Just go out there and show them you can still pitch.'''
The Mariners want Rhodes to take it easy this spring, but they've had a hard time containing him. With only a few spots in the bullpen up for grabs, he's eager to make his mark before time runs out.
Eric O'Flaherty and Ryan Rowland-Smith are the front-runners for left-handed setup role. O'Flaherty went 7-1 with a 4.47 ERA in 56 games last season, while Rowland-Smith was 1-0 with a 3.96 ERA in 26 appearances. Both have been impressive during the first week of camp.
en has been equally impressed with Rhodes' recovery from the offseason surgery, he isn't sure the team can carry three lefty relievers on its 25-man roster.
``That's kind of like a perfect balance when you have that scenario,'' McLaren said. ``I don't know if we're going to be able to have that kind of luxury.''
Still, Rhodes likes his chances. So, too, does Seattle general manager Bill Bavasi, who earlier this month told reporters, ``Arthur, I think, maybe will surprise some people.''
According to Mariners trainer Rick Griffin, an injury like the one Rhodes suffered and the subsequent ligament replacement surgery generally require 10-12 months of recovery time. The team originally penciled in May 1 as his return date, but that could be changing.
During the first week of spring training, Rhodes moved around in fielding drills as if he were 10 years younger, laughing and joking with teammates. When he pitches - from about three feet in front of the rubber - the ball slings out of his hand with the same pop it once did.
``I think I'm way ahead of schedule,'' Rhodes said. ``I thought I was going to come up sore the first day but nothing hurt. The arm's feeling good, the body's feeling good. I'm not going to push myself to hurt myself again. I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing, take it easy and keep working out.''
ariners' roster last year after allowing only two runs in eight spring appearances. Then came the early April elbow injury and subsequent surgery, which knocked him off the roster and onto the disabled list for the entire season.
Sitting out drove Rhodes crazy. He would frequently show up at the ballpark and put on his uniform, even though he had no chance of playing. He watched as the bullpen, overused early in the season, wore down and eventually gave out during the team's epic September collapse from playoff contention, convinced he could help but unable to do anything about it.
``I would have liked to have put my two cents in if I could but it didn't work out like that,'' Rhodes said. ``This year, I just want to make sure I get my five cents in. They know what I'm capable of doing. They know I feel good and they know I'm way ahead of schedule.''
 

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