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Yet to start program, Gorzelanny eyes Opening Day

Coming off surgery, lefty hopes to throw in a few weeks, begin season on time

MILWAUKEE -- Working his way back from offseason shoulder surgery, left-hander Tom Gorzelanny said over the weekend that he has yet to begin a throwing program, but is aiming to be part of the Brewers' Opening Day bullpen.

Gorzelanny briefed reporters at Brewers On Deck in downtown Milwaukee on Sunday, and he reported progress in his rehabilitation from a "cleanup" procedure in early December.

"I'm glad I got it done," Gorzelanny said. "I think with everything the way it's going, it's feeling better every day. If everything goes right, I should be ready for the season."

The Brewers' regular season begins at home against the Braves on March 31.

"That's definitely a target date for myself. I think it's a possibility," Gorzelanny said. "If not that day, then pretty soon after. Sometime in April, I would say."

He said he was a few weeks away from beginning a throwing program. Aiding his bid for Opening Day is the fact Gorzelanny is pegged for the bullpen and will not need as many Spring Training outings to get ready. During part of the second half of last season, the Brewers evaluated him as a starter.

In relief, Gorzelanny has been quite effective in recent seasons. In 92 relief outings for the Nationals and Brewers since the start of 2011, Gorzelanny has a 2.76 ERA and a .218 opponents' batting average.

Now 31, Gorzelanny is entering the second season of a two-year, $5.7 million contract, and he is a rare veteran presence in what, at the moment, is an unproven Brewers bullpen. Closer Jim Henderson and setup man Brandon Kintzler are each entering their first full season in those roles. The other active left-hander on the 40-man roster, Will Smith, has made 35 Major League appearances, including 17 out of the bullpen. Other bullpen candidates like Michael Blazek, Rob Wooten, Donovan Hand and Alfredo Figaro all have less than a year of Major League service time.

The Brewers do have one experienced non-roster invitee in lefty Zach Duke, who signed with Milwaukee earlier this month and will compete for a spot in the bullpen.

Gorzelanny likes the way the Brewers are shaping up for 2014.

"I do now," he said in the wake of the team's four-year agreement with free-agent starter Matt Garza. "We needed a couple of pieces, and now everything is starting to fill in."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy.

Milwaukee Brewers, Tom Gorzelanny