Valdez could throw off mound soon

Valdez could throw off mound soon

SAN FRANCISCO -- It's been nearly two months since Merkin Valdez landed on the disabled list with a strained right elbow. His injury rehab has hit multiple bumps, including a visit to Birmingham, Ala., to see Tommy John surgery specialist Dr. James Andrews.

But before Tuesday's game, manager Bruce Bochy delivered a bit of good news, saying Valdez might throw off a mound in "a couple days" after recently playing toss and not feeling pain.

On Monday, the righty reliever threw the ball 15 times apiece from 60 feet, 70 feet, 90 feet and to a catcher. He tossed the ball another 20 times from 80 feet and 10 times to a catcher before Tuesday's game.

The Giants' bullpen has been stable the past few days, but another sturdy arm couldn't hurt. In 17 appearances this season, Valdez pitched 16 innings, struck out 13 and maintained a 1.69 ERA.

There will be no rush to activate Valdez, though, considering his previous injuries as well as the Giants' unenviable position in the playoff race. The 26-year-old underwent Tommy John elbow surgery in September 2006 and subsequently missed the entire 2007 season.

Fearing another long-term setback, the Giants won't push Valdez's return.

David Biderman is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.