Chris Capuano threw a simulated game to Dodgers hitters on Saturday, and the Dodgers left-hander gets closer to a return to the starting rotation. He hasn't had any setbacks while on the disabled list with a strained left calf, but at the same time is anxious to return to the mound in a major league game.
"I have a lot of pent up energy right now. I feel like I just want to go out and run and keep throwing," Capuano said.
The decision was made to move up Capuano's simulated game from Sunday, as originally scheduled, to Saturday in part because there was more time before Saturday's night game, rather than Sunday's matinee series finale with the Brewers. He threw a warmup bullpen session, then 34 pitches in two simulated innings to Dodgers batters on Saturday afternoon.
Up next for Capuano will be a minor league rehab assignment, likely Wednesday, either in Albuquerque with the Triple-A Isotopes or in Stockton with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.
"I would probably lean toward going to Albuquerque, with Memphis in town, just to get the highest level of competition possible," Capuano said Saturday. "But it probably comes down to logistics."
The Dodgers could have Capuano, possibly with fellow rehabbing teammate Hanley Ramirez, stick with the Quakes as it would be easier for both to simply join the team from Stockton in San Francisco for next weekend's series against the Giants.
Either way, Capuano is only expected to need one rehab start before getting activated.
"Cap was good, and it was really no surprise. He's been able to continue to do all his throwing," said manager Don Mattingly. "His injury has had zero effect on him being able to continue to throw and keep his arm strong."
Capuano said his strained left calf hasn't been a problem since receiving the platelet-rich plasma injection on Apr. 18.
"I haven't felt one thing, knock on wood, in this whole process," Capuano said. "Throwing hasn't been a problem all along. I've been able to long toss and do my pens full out. Just yesterday we started running outside, and we'll progress to more lateral, explosive type movements, so I'll be able to bounce off the mound and run the bases."
The Dodgers will likely skip Matt Magill on Thursday's off day, then have Clayton Kershaw, Ted Lilly, and Hyun-jin Ryu start on regular rest next weekend against the Giants. Capuano could fit in Monday or Tuesday against the Diamondbacks back at Dodger Stadium, with Monday more likely as it keeps him on regular rest and allows an extra day of rest for Josh Beckett, something Mattingly likes to do.
Capuano has been taking anti-inflammatory medication while on the disabled list and has taken advantage of the new and enhanced Dodgers training facilities at Dodger Stadium. He has been able to ride a stationary bicycle and lift weights every day, and has run using an AlterG machine, with reduces body weight while running to decrease the strain.
"I've been running at 60 or 70 percent body weight, and have been gradually increasing that to 80 or 90 percent. That's a really good tool to slowly reintroduce running," Capuano said. "With this new facility it's been a great place to rehab. There's just every kind of device to get you healthy here possible."
During the club's recent six-game road trip in Baltimore and New York, Capuano and fellow disabled pitcher Zack Greinke worked out four hours a day at the new facilities.
"It was (team chairman) Mark Walter's vision," said Mattingly. "Guys come here, they play longer. We're going to be able to have state of the art treatment here."
Now, if only the Dodgers could just figure out how to keep them off the disabled list in the first place.