SAN DIEGO -- For the first time since he had season-ending Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in April, closer Ryan Madson was in the Reds clubhouse on Thursday and in uniform. Madson lives in nearby Temecula, Calif., and has been doing his rehab in Anaheim, under the watch of the Angels medical staff.
"It's going slow, real slow," said Madson, who hurt his elbow throwing during Spring Training and never appeared in an exhibition game. "I think everything is on schedule. I wanted to come down here and get a chance to let everybody see the progress."
There has been no throwing program yet for Madson, who hopes to pick up a baseball in September. He does rehab and exercise on his arm about 90 minutes a day, per therapist's orders.
Madson was a prized free-agent acquisition in the winter, when he signed a one-year, $8.5 million contract with an $11 million mutual option for 2013. The option is unlikely to get picked up, and he would get a $2.5 million buyout. But Madson would like to return to Cincinnati next year.
"I'm waiting for this thing to crank back up. I'd love to be back here," Madson said. "I don't see any reason not to. When I left Spring Training, we had some good talks. Hopefully that's still in place."
While he's been out, Madson has reduced the number of games he's watched on TV, because it's been hard to sit for the season.
"I'm trying to remain a baseball player and not just a Dad at home," he said. "I've gotten a little taste of what retirement tastes like. It's cool, but I am drooling to throw and be a part of this. Now I've seen the other side of it."
Madson sees Rangers closer Joe Nathan as a beacon of hope. Nathan missed 2010 with the Twins to have Tommy John surgery and returned in 2011. This season, he's an All-Star for Texas.
"I definitely look forward to matching that," Madson said. "He's paving the way in recent times that can happen. His name comes up a lot when I think about things and next year."