PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) -Mike Gonzalez enjoyed having his Atlanta teammates around for spring training. Now, he can't wait for them to leave.
Gonzalez, recovering from ligament replacement surgery on his left elbow, said Tuesday he hopes to come off the disabled list by the first week of May. He'll remain at the team's facility in Kissimmee, Fla., when the Braves return to Atlanta this week, and thinks it will be easier then for him to focus on his comeback.
``I love to see the guys around, but I'm ready for them to take off so I can get going with things here,'' the reliever said.
Gonzalez had surgery on May 31. He had been projected for a midseason return but would beat that timetable if he is back in May.
``It's feeling really good,'' he said. ``I haven't had any setbacks. Maybe a little soreness here and there, but it's gone the next day.''
Gonzalez threw in the bullpen Tuesday and will throw five minutes of batting practice every other day this week. He hopes to begin throwing in minor league games next week.
Gonzalez said it has been difficult to remain focused on his rehabilitation while other players become more and more excited about Sunday's season opener at Washington.
``That has definitely been the hardest thing I've had to do, seriously, in my life,'' he said. ``The physical part is easy. It's the mental part, coming back and being patient, especially right now I'm getting very, very antsy. I have to sit back a little and be very patient with the whole process.''
Gonzalez saved 24 games for Pittsburgh in 2006 before he was traded to Atlanta with shortstop Brent Lillibridge for first baseman Adam LaRoche and outfielder Jamie Romak on Jan. 19, 2007. The left-hander was 2-0 with two saves and a 1.59 ERA in 18 games last season before the elbow injury.
Gonzalez could return as a setup man for closer Rafael Soriano.
Notes: LHP Tom Glavine threw 89 pitches against Triple-A Richmond, giving up two hits and no runs. He struck out six and walked none.

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