The Angels placed pitcher Ryan Madson on unconditional release waivers Tuesday.
Madson, who had Tommy John surgery on his left elbow in April 2012, spent the entire season on the disabled list after signing an incentive-laden one-year contract. The Angels owe him the remainder of his $3.5 million base salary.
The 32-year-old pitcher had been rehabbing in Arizona. He pitched one inning of one rehab game for the Single-A Inland Empire 66ers on May 13, but the subsequent pain in his elbow stalled his progress.
“We signed Ryan with the belief that he would return to the mound and positively impact our team,” Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement released by the team. “It became increasingly more apparent to us that he would not pitch for the Angels this season. Our medical team has spent much time, effort and resources in the effort to facilitate a healthy return. It’s been a long and difficult process for all involved.
“I spoke to Ryan earlier today and informed him of our decision. This was an upside gamble that I deemed worth the risk and unfortunately it did not transpire for either Ryan or the club.”
Ryan Madson took a scheduled day off his throwing program Thursday. The right-hander will resume tomorrow from flat ground, but not from 120 feet as in the past.
Madson said he’ll throw from 90 feet, but don’t call it a setback. It’s more of a temporary adjustment.
“It’ll prevent any excess inflammation in that spot,” he said. “That’s a big difference from 90 to 120, for some reason. It (Madson’s right elbow) doesn’t like that.”
The 120-foot distance is something of a standard distance for pitchers coming back from injuries, the final hurdle to clear. Madson acknowledged that throwing from 120 feet would allow him to build more strength and stretch his arm out more than throwing from 90 feet.
But if the goal is to get him back pitching off a mound (60 feet, 6 inches away from home plate), the extra 30 feet are negligible and not worth the pain. Madson said he hasn’t been able to throw beyond 80 percent strength from 120 feet without incurring pain in his surgically repaired right elbow, and he has a better chance of making progress if he sticks to 90 feet.
“When you go to 120 feet, you have to throw it 90 miles per hour to get it downhill,” he said.
Angels pitcher Ryan Madson threw long toss from 120 feet Monday, which the rehabbing right-hander declared a “good day.”
Still, Madson said he experienced pain in his surgically repaired right elbow when he pushed himself to about 80 percent effort.
“I don’t know what it is,” he said, “whether it’s the PRP injection or the strain.”
Angels pitcher Ryan Madson threw lightly for the second straight day Friday, from 60 feet on flat ground for about six minutes. The right-hander reported no pain and plenty of progress compared to Thursday.
“Yesterday it didn’t feel good at all,” he said. “Today it felt a lot better.”
Madson had not thrown at all between May 13, the date of his last rehabilitation outing for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, and Thursday. One thing has changed in the meantime.
“I’m not going to have any input,” he said. The Angels’ training staff will dictate when Madson takes the next step in his rehab.
Madson said he hasn’t had an MRI exam on his surgically repaired right elbow since spring training, but he can tell when there’s inflammation just by stretching out his arm and twisting it below the elbow.
“I wanted this to start from zero inflammation,” he said of his latest throwing session. “I think we’re there.”