Been There, Done That

Sullivan used to the operating table





DENVER—Labrum surgery? Josh Sullivan had that in October 2005. Elbow surgery to transpose a nerve? He had that in April 2008. Tommy John surgery? Sullivan underwent that in March 2009.

"Honestly, there's not a whole lot left probably to work on now," he said. "So I'm hoping that I just have a new arm and I can kick-start my career."

Sullivan has had as many arm surgeries (three) as wins in any season. The Rockies drafted him in the fifth round out of Auburn in 2005. He has pitched a mere 131 professional innings in four seasons and didn't pitch at all in 2009.

Sullivan was scheduled to take part in the Rockies medical minicamp at Coors Field in January. Happily, he won't be poking along in the early stages of yet another rehabilitation program.

In instructional league, Sullivan felt fine after throwing two light bullpens at about 65 percent effort with the catcher 10 feet in front of the plate. He said just before Christmas, he was at 75 feet in his throwing program and about to move out to 90.

"I haven't felt this good since before I ever had an elbow problem after my (shoulder) surgery in '05," Sullivan said.

He hasn't advanced beyond low Class A Asheville but is focused on being healthy and letting the 2010 season evolve rather than being concerned where he begins the season.

Sullivan knows there are tests ahead but has reason to hope his elbow is now structurally sound and will hold up. And at 25, he realizes there is some urgency for him to move forward.

"I'm not exactly old, but for where I've been in my career, I'm not young either," Sullivan said. "If I am healthy, I know they're going to test me as soon as they can to see where I'm at and to see what I can handle. I wouldn't want it any other way, to be honest."

Rocky Roads

• Shortstop Chris Nelson, 24, was working out this offseason in Denver as he tries to reestablish his prospect status after injuries limited him to 110 games combined the past two years, including just 29 in 2009 at Double-A Tulsa.

• In his winter ball debut before Christmas, righthander Ubaldo Jimenez allowed one run and three hits in five innings for Licey in the Dominican League with one walk and seven strikeouts.