Notes: Guardado moving up timeline
Reliever targers March 16 as return to mound
TAMPA, Fla. -- Wearing a confident grin on his face Wednesday, Eddie Guardado grabbed a pen and jotted something on the rehabilitation calendar taped to his locker.Under March 16, it read in capital letters, "BIG DAY." That's when the injured Reds closer is scheduled to make his first pitches off the mound since having ligament replacement surgery performed on his left elbow in September. "The 16th is the date. We'll see what happens," Guardado said at the Reds spring complex in Sarasota. "Everything is going well so far. You should know when you go off from that slope, you know what I'm saying?" Originally, Guardado wasn't expected to throw off a mound until closer to the end of Spring Training. The 36-year-old had targeted a return to game action June 22 when Cincinnati visits the left-hander's former team, the Mariners. "It might be earlier, who knows?" said Guardado, who was eight of 10 in save chances with a 1.29 ERA in 15 appearances until his elbow went out on Aug. 19. The Reds acquired him in a July 6 trade with Seattle. A fan of fierce workouts, Guardado said he's constantly pushing the Reds medical and training staff to make his rehab and throwing program more challenging. "Every day, [I say,] 'Let's go! I'm ready, we're ready,'" Guardado said. The trainers, in turn, have been doing what they can to prevent the left-hander from risking a setback. "His attitude and his makeup, that works in our favor," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "Our only fear is that it might work against us and he'll try to do too much, too fast." "It's tough, but I have to be OK with it," Guardado said of the rehab limitations. Currently, he's making 30 throws at a distance of 120 feet. On alternate days, he'll throw from 105 feet. Signed to a Minor League contract on Feb. 4, Guardado will earn a base salary of $500,000 when he's added to the big-league roster. He can earn an additional $2.6 million in roster and performance bonuses.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.