Encouraging signs in Wada's first 'pen session

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Tsuyoshi Wada threw a bullpen session Monday morning, his first since undergoing Tommy John surgery on his left elbow last May, as the pitcher continues to progress forward with encouraging results.

"Everything did go well," Wada said through interpreter Seob Yoon. "[Orioles manager Buck Showalter] and the media were here, too, so I was a little bit nervous.

"I haven't thrown in a long time on the mound, so I was actually very happy and it was very fun. I have been throwing on the half-mound, so it didn't feel awkward. It wasn't much of a difference, but it was very fun."

Monday's session marked Wada's first time on a full mound since a rehab start April 19 for Triple-A Norfolk in which he went 2 2/3 innings, allowing six earned runs on six hits and four walks with a strikeout. His next step depends on how he recovers, with Wada saying "maybe" when asked if he would throw another bullpen session Wednesday.

"It's been a long road for him," Showalter said of Wada, who was signed last winter and has yet to throw a pitch for the big league club. "It's a big day not only for him, but potentially for us. A chance to get a real good pitcher back.

"Sometimes we handicap that stuff [with return dates], and none of us can see inside his elbow, but I don't know what else he can do. He's passed every test so far. They've done a great job, another great thing what [owner Peter Angelos] and [executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette] have allowed us to do with the rehab coordinator, Chris Correnti, and all those people, the work they've done with him. [Wada has] been diligent. He spent very little time in Japan trying to get back."

Wada's return could be in May or June, and the Orioles will have to make a decision as to whether to put him on the 60-day disabled list and get an extra 40-man-roster spot. If they do that, Showalter said Wada would be eligible to return on May 30.

Showalter watched Wada's bullpen session along with Correnti, director of pitching development Rick Peterson and pitching coach Rick Adair, who said the ball was coming out of Wada's hand much better than when he last saw him 10 days ago.

"I'm excited for him, because, missing last year, especially with what this club went through and not being a part of that, and then seeing how things unfolded and what he was going through and all the work he put in," Adair said. "A lot of time you're by yourself, just the people who are going through the rehab process with you, so I'm excited for him. Seeing that and knowing what he's been through, he's got to be real excited, so I'm excited for him."