Wells mending after medical scare

Wells mending after medical scare

DENVER -- Rockies right-hander Kip Wells looked happy and healthy Monday, as if he could help out for an inning or so. The deep scar in his right biceps, however, says otherwise.

Still, the sight of Wells in uniform for pregame activities coupled with an optimistic prognosis from him -- possibly four or five weeks -- suggests a scary story will have a happy ending.

On May 6, Dr. Robert Thompson of Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis performed a procedure in which he entered an artery through the biceps area to remove a blood clot from Wells' right hand.

In addition, Thompson examined the artery to make sure that there wasn't a recurrence of a more serious condition, a blocked artery in the chest area. In 2005, Thompson had to take a vein from Wells' leg to correct the condition.

But Wells was back in uniform for warmups before Monday night's game with the Giants. He's still limited in his activities -- he's taking blood thinners -- so activity that can cause bleeding and trauma has been forbidden.

But Wells believes he can return quickly if he's going to be a reliever and not going to be asked to start, and Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger said Wells' timetable is within the realm of possibility.

"This week, I think I can start doing upper body stuff," Wells said on Monday. "Next week, I think I'll start playing catch, depending on how stretched out I need to get. I'll address that. When I first had this, it was close to three months. This will be four or five weeks."

Wells, who signed a one-year, $3.1 million contract with the Rockies during the offseason, experienced numbness during Spring Training, but fought through it. He was 1-1 with a 2.29 ERA in 10 games in the regular season, including one start. However, when he walked the only two batters he faced on April 28 against the Giants, it was clear something had to be done.

"I had been taking that vessel dilator stuff to increase circulation in cold weather," Wells said. "At certain points, like the first game I pitched, it was 40-something degrees out there in St. Louis and I managed to deal with those things, but as the situation worsened, it got to the point I obviously needed it looked at. Until then, I had self-medicated."

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