Rockies' Vizcaino closer to return

Rockies' Vizcaino closer to return

SAN DIEGO -- Rockies right-handed reliever Luis Vizcaino's strained right shoulder feels well enough that he could throw a bullpen session on Wednesday and pitch to hitters at some point this weekend.

Vizcaino was signed to a two-year, $7.5 million contract during the offseason, but the Rockies haven't seen him be effective. He struggled with elbow pain during Spring Training. After two regular-season games, one poor and one passable, his shoulder stiffened when he was trying to warm up during an April 6 game.

Vizcaino, who did long-toss before Tuesday's game with the Padres, said he's able to raise his arm to the proper throwing motion. If all goes well with the bullpen and facing hitters, the Rockies will map out a plan that will involve Minor League injury rehab appearances.

In other injury rehab news, right-handed starter Jason Hirsh -- who hasn't pitched this year because of a strained muscle in his rotator cuff -- is long-tossing from 90 feet, but is a long away from making his season debut. He'll still have to long-toss comfortably at 120 feet, then the Rockies would move him closer before proceeding to building his pitching motion.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.