Hellickson ready to start playing catch

Hellickson ready to start playing catch

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Jeremy Hellickson's absence has created a competition for the fifth spot in the rotation this spring.

The Rays right-hander had surgery in January to remove loose bodies from his right elbow. He is expected to be back in May.

Hellickson has been in camp all spring rehabilitating. Thursday will be a significant day for him, as he'll actually throw a baseball for the first time since his surgery.

Hellickson said he will play catch with Ron Porterfield, the Rays' head athletic trainer, for approximately five minutes from distances ranging from 45-60 feet.

"I feel good," said Hellickson, who noted that he expected all to go well.

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