Baldelli vows to return this season

Baldelli vows to return this season

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rocco Baldelli stopped by Tropicana Field on Tuesday night and told reporters that he'd be back in 2007.

"I fully plan on being back by the end of the season," said Baldelli, who added he was not exactly sure when that would be.

Baldelli, who went on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain on May 17, was eligible to come off the 60-day DL on Monday, but that did not occur. However, he has started up baseball activity again.

"I've been throwing, I'm hitting again and I'm starting to run," Baldelli said. "I'm starting to get a little bit closer. And I think the next step, instead of doing it every other day, is to start pushing things and going a little bit sooner every day. That's what really gets you ready to get back out there, get your legs feeling good every day."

Baldelli has struggled with various hamstring injuries for the better part of the past two seasons, which has prompted him to try a different approach to his rehab.

"What we've been doing at the [Minor League] complex has been totally different than what we did before," Baldelli said. "We're trying a more aggressive approach, working out with weights and stuff like that, which I stayed away from before because my legs had been hurting."

Baldelli is also experimenting with changing his running style.

"We've been working on shortening my stride," Baldelli said. "Switching it up a little bit to take some pressure off my hamstrings and maybe put it somewhere else."

Baldelli said that it has not been easy mentally to constantly deal with injuries.

"It's not easy to wake up when you don't feel like a baseball player, you feel like a rehabber," Baldelli said. "It's not an easy thing to deal with. I just think of the times when I came back last year and how much fun it was to be out there. It's not fun to be rehabbing. It's fun to be playing. And that's what I think about to keep me going."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.