ST. PETERSBURG -- Right-hander Kyle Drabek is back on the road to recovery and it's a path he has become all too familiar with during his still brief Major League career.
Drabek underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery in June and is expected to be out until at least next year's All-Star break.
It was the second time Drabek had the procedure performed, but he's already back at the club's Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla., and has begun range of motion exercises on his right elbow.
"I'm still upset that it had to happen and I had to leave the team," said Drabek, who went 4-7 with a 4.67 ERA in 13 starts this year. "But who says that, if I would have tried to rehab it and tried to keep pitching that it wouldn't have gotten hurt later on and then I could have ended up missing a full season instead of half of two."
There's a long list of pitchers who have undergone Tommy John surgery and made it back to the big leagues with a lot of success. The list becomes a lot shorter when it comes to pitchers that have had the procedure performed twice.
The vast majority of those who had two Tommy Johns ended up coming back as relievers and not starters. That's not something Drabek wants to think about this early into his rehab, but insists when he does eventually return he wants it to be in the rotation.
"That's what I've always wanted to be and that's what I'm going to continue to be," Drabek said.
"They put a new ligament in there just like the first time so I don't see why not being able to start would be an issue."
Drabek has appeared in parts of three seasons with Toronto. He owns a career 8-15 record with a 5.34 ERA and 110 strikeouts in 167 innings.