Rosenthal nearing spring debut after live BP

Rosenthal nearing spring debut after live BP

JUPITER, Fla. -- Minutes after throwing 15 pitches in live batting practice on Wednesday, closer Trevor Rosenthal said he anticipates making his Grapefruit League debut by the end of the weekend.

Rosenthal was recently slowed by a groin strain but has not had any recurring issues since stepping back onto the mound on Monday. He threw a side session then before facing three batters in this latest test. All went smoothly, and Rosenthal finished the exercise with additional conditioning work and fielding practice.

"Everything felt normal," he said. "I feel strong. I'm excited. My schedule is normal now."

Rosenthal is in some uncharted territory as this marks the first time in his career that he has come into Spring Training knowing he'll pitch out of the bullpen. The 23-year-old right-hander threw 13 1/3 innings last spring, though five of those came when he was still a part of the starters' competition.

Rosenthal said that after taking into consideration his program from last spring and advice from guest instructor Jason Isringhausen, he would like to make "at least six or seven" game appearances this month. Last year, when the spring slate of games was longer and Rosenthal had no injury setback, he pitched in 10 games. None was on back-to-back days.

"Looking back at last year, I felt like that schedule was pretty good," Rosenthal said. "I feel pretty much close to game ready. I don't think we'll be too worried about back-to-back days, at least immediately. Hopefully, I'll have the same amount of opportunities to pitch as last year."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.