For the first time since Independence Day 2013 righty pitcher Shane Watson took the mound in a game on Tuesday.
The Phillies’ top draft selection (40th overall) in 2012, Watson was sidelined with a shoulder ailment in the middle of what was a pretty good campaign (4-7, 4.44 ERA, .230 BAA) for a player in his first full professional season with Class A Lakewood. The injury would result in two surgeries along with 22 months of downtime and rehab.
Finally back to full health, Watson took the mound for the Phillies’ extended spring training team, tossing an inning against the XST Yankees. According to the 21-year-old, he was satisfied with his effort.
“Went great,” said Watson. “I think I was 88-92 (MPH), gave up some base knocks, but that was expected since I was throwing only fastballs.”
The six-foot-four 200-pounder threw one inning and is expected to appear in a game again with the extended spring club in five or six days.
The game marked a personal landmark for Watson, who took the field with his childhood friend and teammate, Phils top prospect shortstop J.P. Crawford, who is rehabbing a strained oblique and is expected to be activated for the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers on Wednesday.
Watson is currently serving a 50-game suspension for a positive banned substance test last year.
According to Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan, the team hopes to have Watson return to Lakewood this summer.
*UPDATE* The plan for Watson is to have him make more five more starts with the extended spring team, stretching out his endurance. If things progress well, look for him to make an official season debut during the second week of June.