ST. PETERSBURG -- Jeremy Hellickson continues to progress from January surgery to remove loose bodies from his right elbow.
Hellickson is due back in late May or early June. Rays manager Joe Maddon noted that Hellickson's body language tells an encouraging story about how he feels.
"He's walking around here, he's pretty happy," Maddon said. "Just look at his face."
Maddon agreed, in hindsight, that Hellickson's elbow might have bothered him to a certain degree last season, a year in which the right-hander struggled at times.
"May have," Maddon said. "He hasn't said that, but it could have been. Sometimes things like that can be subtle and you're feeling things that you're not quite sure of. It's not horrid, but it's there. Like a little stone in your shoe. You know it's there."
Maddon believes Hellickson is going to enjoy taking the mound when he returns.
"I said, 'Listen, once this thing is well, you're going to go out there with nothing, like regardless of if you said anything or not, nothing at all [in regard to pain], you know this is good,'" Maddon said. "So I'm anticipating for him to pitch well [once he makes his return]."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.