Hutchison readies for first bullpen session on mound

Hutchison readies for first bullpen session on mound

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Right-hander Drew Hutchison is expected to throw off a mound Monday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last August.

Hutchison has been going through an extensive rehab program at the Blue Jays' Minor League complex in Dunedin, with his work limited to playing catch and long tossing thus far.

"It'll be nice to finally get off the mound again," said Hutchison,who went 5-3 with a 4.60 ERA in 11 games last year before his injury . "It's going to be another step in the process. I'm looking forward to it definitely. It'll be another step in the right direction."

Hutchison said he is expected to ease into his work off the mound and will throw only 15 pitches during the first bullpen. That process will be repeated twice a week as he gradually builds up endurance in his arm.

There's still no timetable for when he'll face live hitters, but Hutchison is expected to be out until at least the All-Star break. He's slightly behind Kyle Drabek and Luis Perez, who underwent the same surgical procedure last year.

Drabek and Perez went under the knife before Hutchison and have already started throwing off the mound. Drabek already underwent Tommy John surgery once before and his presence has been somewhat comforting to Hutchison.

"I think it's good for all three of us to be able to bounce things off each other and get through it together," Hutchison said. "Kyle, it's his second time going through it, so if I ever feel anything or have questions, I can just ask him. It makes it a lot better than just being here by myself."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.