Hellickson set for first rehab start Saturday

Hellickson set for first rehab start Saturday

ST. PETERSBURG -- Jeremy Hellickson (elbow) appears to be full speed ahead toward rejoining the Rays once he completes three rehab starts.

Hellickson threw a bullpen session on Wednesday consisting of 30-35 pitches. He told reporters he is scheduled for his first rehab game, which will come Saturday as a member of the Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs against the Yankees' affiliate in Tampa.

Hellickson is slated to throw four innings or roughly 60 pitches.

"I'll see how I feel after that," Hellickson said. "I think three [rehab starts] is all I need. Get to six [innings] and 90 [pitches]. I should be good as long as everything goes smoothly."

Looking at the calendar, that could put him back in the rotation by June 22 or 23 if all goes well.

Earlier in his rehab, Hellickson had a little setback after throwing his first curveball, which caused him to have to take a week off.

"Felt great ever since, recovering better the day after," Hellickson said. "Ball's been coming out good the last three live BPs and sim games I've thrown."

Hellcikson smiled when asked if his surgically repaired elbow felt better than he did last season.

"Yeah, it feels a lot better," Hellickson said. "It wasn't so much pain [last season]. Just tight and just kind of wedged in there. Not a lot of mobility. Couldn't extend like I wanted to. I feel great."

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