SEATTLE -- The road back to pitching for Luke Putkonen is about to begin again. The right-handed reliever, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 19 while dealing with right elbow inflammation, expects to begin long tossing again on Saturday.
It'll be Putkonen's first time throwing of any sort since his Minor League rehab assignment at Triple-A Toledo was cut short 2 1/2 weeks ago. He felt renewed discomfort in his elbow after his second Mud Hens appearance May 13, when he gave up four runs on five hits in two innings against Syracuse.
Noted specialist Dr. James Andrews checked out Putkonen's elbow May 21 and said there was nothing to suggest he needed surgery. Since then, Putkonen has been on a mix of anti-inflammatory medication and strengthening.
Putkonen's absence hasn't been noted in wins and losses so much as the state of the bullpen over the past week during the struggles of the starting rotation. Phil Coke and Evan Reed have had to fill innings with Putkonen unavailable as a designated long reliever.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.