On February 1 this spring, Ryan Madson, the new closer-elect for the Los Angeles Angels suffered some discomfort and a setback to his Tommy John surgery rehab. The team took an optimistic stance on the matter as manager Mike Scioscia said it was likely a standard setback. For now that seems to be the case, but the team should make sure they are extremely careful in the way they handle the return of the closer.
Madson has resumed throwing from flat surfaces already and is doing so basically pain-free. The key, as Scioscia said was building pitching strength in that arm. He is certainly right about that. Many times in the past, seemingly worse with closers for some reason, the elbow that isn’t allowed to properly heal harms the rest of the pitcher’s career. Everyone on the Angels is taking steps to ensure that does not happen to Madson.
If things progress as they should, Madson could see time in a Spring Training game by mid-March. If I were them, I would take even this part extremely cautiously. It would be better for Madson to join the team mid-May if it meant he was healthy for the stretch run and the postseason. However, if strength builds correctly, Madson could still rejoin the team sometime in April. That would be admirable, but certainly not worth risking him joining them in October.