Pitcher Will Kline pitched two innings Wednesday in a minor-league spring game, his first on-the-mound game action since September 2007. But he's staying for Tampa Bay's extended spring training to build up his arm strength, he said.
The right-hander was a second-round draft pick in 2007 from Ole Miss, but he hasn't pitched the last two years after suffering a torn labrum.
"It's been a really rough road, to say the least," Kline said.
Kline said he recently learned he was headed to extended spring and "it was not unexpected," but he'd hoped to break camp with a full-season team. He made his pro debut in 2007 and was 0-4 in nine starts at low-Class A Columbus (Ga.).
He said there is no target date for when he might report to a team.
"It would be good to have an idea, something to work toward, but it could bring some bad luck, too," he said. "If I had mid-June in mind and I was struggling in late May, it would be disappointing."
Kline, 25, said he pitched on the side some last year, but "I struggled with being able to come back the next day and pick my arm up." His two innings Wednesday in a Class A game went well, he said.
"I've come a long ways," Kline said Thursday. "I'm a little sore; I can't deny that and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't. It's going to take time and extended is the first step."