Hellickson progressing on schedule

Hellickson progressing on schedule

Hellickson progressing on schedule
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson continues to make positive strides in his attempt to return from a right hamstring issue.

Hellickson felt fine after throwing a 35-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday and the Rays have now set a timetable for his return. He will throw another bullpen session on Thursday and is then scheduled to pitch two sessions against live hitters.

After that point, Hellickson is expected to be able to make his Grapefruit League debut. The delayed start to Spring Training is not expected to affect his status for the start of the regular season, and the 23-year-old likely will begin the year as the club's No. 5 starter.

Hellickson impressed the Rays brass last season when he was called up in early August. The native of Iowa went 4-0 with a 3.47 ERA in 10 appearances, including four starts.

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Also on the injury front, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said outfielder Sam Fuld and Elliot Johnson will be out of action for the next few days. Fuld has a right elbow injury; Johnson is experiencing soreness in his left quadriceps muscle. The club decided to rest the pair for precautionary reasons, and neither injury is considered serious.