LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As Gavin Floyd attempts to return from reconstructive elbow surgery, he will continue to be cognizant of the fact that a premature return could negatively affect his future. But the Braves right-hander can't help but be excited about his progress, which has allowed him to remain hopeful of joining the rotation in May.
"I'm just super thankful," Floyd said. "You hear a bunch of stories and testimonies about how different guys have recovered and how guys have recovered. I've had my soreness and stuff. But for some reason, I've recovered well and fast."
Floyd began throwing curveballs last week and was cleared to begin mixing in some sliders during a 75-pitch bullpen session he completed on Friday. The 31-year-old right-hander will continue throwing both his breaking balls as he increases each of his pitch counts during his next two bullpen sessions.
If Floyd continues to make pain-free progress, he'll be cleared to begin throwing live batting practice at some point during the early portion of March. As he increases his workload and endurance with these exercises, he'll be moving toward being cleared to begin a rehab assignment, which will essentially serve as his Spring Training.
"It's been flying by," Floyd said. "It's crazy to think maybe a month from now, I'll maybe be pitching in a game. It's pretty cool."
Floyd's excitement is also a product of the fact that this is the best his elbow has felt in more than two years. He endured two disabled list stints after the 2012 All-Star break and then pitched through pain before undergoing surgery in May to repair tears to his ulnar collateral ligament and flexor tendon.
After the surgery, the White Sox indicated Floyd would need 14-19 months to recover. But encouraged by the medical reports they reviewed, the Braves signed Floyd in December with the belief he could join their rotation in May, which would be 12 months after the surgery.
"He's fine," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I think he's right where he's supposed to be. He just needs to keep hitting those marks the trainers set and keep progressing from there."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less