Recovery from torn labrum slowing Braddock
Non-roster invitee building arm strength as he rehabs from July surgery
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles left-hander Zach Braddock will be behind schedule to start Spring Training, as the non-roster invitee is rehabbing from surgery in July to repair a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder.
Braddock, a non-roster invitee who signed with Baltimore in mid-December, started a throwing program last month and doesn't have a timetable for throwing from a mound yet as he continues to build up arm strength. He started his throwing program at home in New York prior to heading to Florida for camp.
"With these kinds of things, you plan for whatever is going to happen and err on the side of caution," said Braddock, who has been working with pitching rehab coordinator Chris Correnti on a progression to throwing bullpen sessions. "I think the team and I both expect to just progress as smooth as we can.
"I'm happy with where I'm at. I think the general idea is mutual with the understanding of just preparing me to become an asset for the Orioles."
Braddock was originally diagnosed with the labrum tear in 2009 when he was in Milwaukee's system. He was released by the Brewers in May -- although the organization did cover his surgery -- and has found a new home with the Orioles, giving Baltimore another potential left-handed relief option down the road.
"I was able to rehab it for the 2010 season," Braddock said of the injury. "[In] the Minor Leagues, their protocol was to kind of keep me healthy and get me ready for the Major Leagues. And then, when you get up here, it's, 'You got to do your job no matter what.'
"The leash is kind of off. That's kind of what happened, and then I guess from the amount of wear and tear, it was just a little bit too much from my shoulder to recoup from. So we decided it was time to go ahead and get it done."
Once considered one of the Brewers' top prospects, the 25-year-old Braddock pitched to a 2.94 ERA in 46 games as a rookie in 2010. He accumulated 33 2/3 innings and allowed 11 earned runs on 29 hits and 19 walks, striking out 41 batters. He also held left-handed batters to a .151/.270/.170 line.
But Braddock was unable to follow up that initial success, posting a 7.27 ERA in 25 games in 2011 and spending time on the disabled list to get treatment for a sleep disorder. Braddock did not pitch last season, and was on the inactive list with Triple-A Nashville when he was officially released by the Brewers.
"Six [plus] months out, I'm throwing and it feels great," said Braddock.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.