DETROIT -- Brandon Beachy will have a few more hurdles to clear before potentially rejoining Atlanta's starting rotation during the latter portion of June. But the Braves right-hander has at least reached a point where his long return from Tommy John surgery does not seem so tedious.
Beachy passed his latest test by throwing a five-minute live batting practice session with Andrelton Simmons at the plate on Friday afternoon at Comerica Park. This marked the first time that Beachy threw to a batter since undergoing the surgical procedure last June.
"I'm not thinking about it too much," Beachy said. "I'm just going out there and trying to make pitches. I'm not thinking about effort levels or anything like that. I'm just trying to compete with myself."
A little more than 10 months removed from the surgery, Beachy has experienced some days when he has been able to throw from foul pole to foul pole without any problem. But there have also been some days when he has quickly realized that his arm strength is not quite back to where it needs to be.
"I don't want to push it too much when it's telling me not to," said Beachy, who was leading the National League with a 2.00 ERA before being shut down last year. "But when it feels good, it feels good. Those are fun days."
Beachy was able to throw all of his pitches to Simmons without any problem. But he came away from the session knowing that his fastball is not at its optimal level.
"I went back in and looked at the video," Beachy said. "It kind of looked like slow motion in comparison to what I'm expecting to see. I'm letting it go as much as I can right now without trying to blow it out. I'm not there yet. But I believe the strength will come."
Beachy will throw another live batting practice session on Sunday and then continue to take the remaining steps in this year-long rehab process. He remains confident that he could be back in Atlanta's rotation before the end of June.
"I'm right where I want to be," Beachy said.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.