Chacin hopes to take step forward by playing catch

Chacin hopes to take step forward by playing catch

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies pitcher Jhoulys Chacin said if his ailing right shoulder feels good Thursday, he will take a step forward in his rehab program by playing catch. He will still need to build strength to throw bullpen sessions, so his debut in game action is still uncertain.

Chacin said he wants to throw a bullpen session "as soon as I can, but it's not up to me." The Rockies would have to clear him, and the club refuses to rush him -- even if he misses a limited number of starts at the beginning of the season.

When Chacin arrived at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, his shoulder hurt whenever he attempted to graduate from throwing long toss.

In past winters, Chacin played in Venezuela, but he didn't this past year. In late January, he went to Sarasota, Fla., for workouts with former Major League pitcher Wilson Alvarez. Chacin did long toss but did not get on a mound. He attempted bullpen sessions at the Rockies' complex in the Dominican Republic before coming to camp, but he felt pain when playing catch.

Chacin has been shut down from all throwing, even long toss, since Feb. 23. He has spent the time between doing strengthening exercises.

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