LAKELAND, Fla. -- Bobby Seay isn't ready to pitch again quite yet, but that doesn't necessarily mean the reliever is on his way to being the first Tigers player to miss serious time. It means the process to get rid of the bursitis in his left arm takes more than a few days.
Seay said Wednesday morning that he hasn't yet started playing catch again. At this point, he can't, because the cortisone shot he received in his arm earlier this week takes a few days of inaction before he can try throwing again.
Seay was expected to start stretching out his arm in the next day or so to try to regain some range of motion. He should be able to play catch again in the coming days. If he feels fine then, he can get back on the mound and start throwing side sessions again. He threw one session last week and felt bad enough that the Tigers' medical staff checked out his arm.
The bursitis, Seay said, is around his biceps rather than his shoulder, which should be good news. At its worst, though, Seay said he can feel the pain down to the bone. It initially flared up several weeks ago when he was trying to play catch, but he was able to loosen up his arm enough to get through his sessions. It only bothers him when he throws.
Seay is the most experienced of the many left-handers the Tigers have in their relief corps, making him a relatively strong candidate to be part of Detroit's Opening Day bullpen for a fourth consecutive season. Part of his value as a lefty, ironically, is his ability to retire right-handed hitters.
The 31-year-old Seay went 6-3 with a 4.25 ERA in 67 games last year, allowing 46 hits over 48 2/3 innings with 17 walks and 37 strikeouts. Left-handed hitters batted .261 (29-for-111) with a .688 OPS against Seay in 2009, compared with a .239 average (17-for-71) and .715 OPS from right-handed hitters. He struggled down the stretch last season with a .321 average allowed and a 6.10 ERA after the All-Star break, compared with a .198 average and 2.89 ERA beforehand.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.