ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays pitcher Juan Carlos Oviedo started the season on the 15-day disabled list as he has not pitched in a Major League game since September 2011.
The right-hander missed all of 2012 due to Tommy John surgery to his right elbow, then all of 2013 while rehabbing with the Rays. Adding to his journey, Oviedo sat out the bulk of Spring Training due to a visa problem.
Manager Joe Maddon stressed that the Rays' primary concern was that Oviedo did not hurt himself again. Maddon also noted that missing two seasons left some room for regaining his edge when facing hitters.
Speaking through interpreter George Pappas, Oviedo said he felt as though he was getting sharper every time out and that he was ready to head to Triple-A Durham on Thursday.
"I feel pretty good," Oviedo said. "I definitely feel a lot better. I'm finding the zone. I'm finding my changeup. And having the chance to do that, I feel much better."
Oviedo noted that his mind is getting back into his pitching as well.
"Obviously I'm thinking a lot more," he said. "I certainly feel a lot better. I'm getting my confidence back with it. And that's going to come with throwing in more games. I feel super good."
Oviedo said he will pitch for the Bulls on Friday. As for when he might join the Rays?
"Not sure yet, just whenever I feel ready," he said.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.