Madson throws off mound, but status uncertain

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Angels reliever Ryan Madson returned to the bullpen mound on Thursday, but he's made basically no progress over the last 10 days. Madson threw 25 pitches at about half-intensity, the same thing he did upon returning to the 'pen after a long hiatus on March 11 because of a previous bout with elbow tightness.

The Angels are pleased that he was able to get back on track, but are still not at a point where they can gauge when Madson can get in games. With camp breaking in six days, their previous hopes of him pitching in some Minor League contests before the spring schedule runs out have vanished.

"Honestly, it's really one day at a time, given how he feels," Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher said. "Today was really a positive because he's feeling better. He's getting more endurance; I think he's feeling better mentally, physically."

Madson had uncommon elbow soreness after his Feb. 1 bullpen session, keeping him off a mound for 38 days. Then, shortly after a bullpen session last Thursday, his elbow got a little tight, prompting him to push his schedule back a few days and lower the intensity once again.

Madson's next bullpen session is slated for Sunday, though the real test will be how he bounces back from this one on Friday. The 32-year-old right-hander will start the season on the disabled list, but Butcher isn't sure if he'll travel with the team early or stay back on an extended rehab assignment.

"Right now he's feeling good, so if he continues to feel good, he's going to go through his natural progression," Butcher said. "We'll work to get his arm stronger, No. 1, get him to where he's throwing aggressive bullpens, get him into some games. And then, wherever we're comfortable and he's comfortable with, however many games he needs to be ready for the season."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.