CLEARWATER, Fla. – Charlie Manuel asked a reporter on Thursday afternoon if he had seen Mike Adams throw his morning bullpen session at Carpenter Complex.
Manuel raised his eyebrows.
"He was throwing pretty good," Manuel said excitedly.
Adams was revved up for his session, which is positive news, although it is just a few days into camp. Adams signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the Phillies to be their setup man, but he is recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in October, which involved removing a rib near his right shoulder. Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter had the same surgery last year, but he is going to miss the 2013 season and possibly never pitch again, because his pre-surgery symptoms returned.
Adams said he is not concerned that he could share a similar fate.
"When I heard about Carp, my first thought was, 'OK, what happened?'" Adams said. "Carp and I had the same surgeon do our surgeries, so that was in my favor a little bit in terms of information. When I first had my surgery, I spoke with the doc and he told me he did Carp's surgery, and I was kind of excited because I knew he came back pretty quickly. But when I brought that up, the doctor was like, 'Well, I wish he would've waited a little longer to come back. I think he came back a little too early.' At the time, we didn't know this was going to be the result. At the same time, everyone has a different kind of severity -- how long the nerve and vessels were being pinched, how badly. So his severity could've been worse than mine.
"I talked to [Phillies right-hander Aaron] Cook yesterday, and he had the surgery as well back in 2004, and his was very severe. He said his surgery took like nine hours, whereas mine took an hour-and-a-half. So there are different severities. That's something I really looked into when I first found out about it. Hopefully the severity of mine wasn't as bad and I can move on."
But the Phils are going to take things slowly with Adams.
"He probably won't get into [Grapefruit League] games as fast as some guys," pitching coach Rich Dubee said. "But he's really not going to need as much. He doesn't need 15 to 16 innings, I don't think. But he's coming along fine."
"I feel great," he said. "I don't really see any reason that anything is going to be a problem. When we first got here, we said I'll take it slow. I don't see a reason to really throw in any of those games in the first week. The last thing I want to do is have 15 to 18 innings entering the season. The last few years, I've gotten about nine to 10 innings and felt great, so that's what I'm going with entering this season. … But when I'm throwing the ball, I don't notice anything that feels different. I'm throwing the ball a lot better than last year. I know that."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.