GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Since taking a break from throwing for 10 days while he strengthened his lower back, Reds starting pitcher John Lamb has had a couple of bullpen sessions, including one on Friday. So far, so good."I'm not looking too far ahead," Lamb said on Sunday before he long
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Since taking a break from throwing for 10 days while he strengthened his lower back, Reds starting pitcher John Lamb has had a couple of bullpen sessions, including one on Friday. So far, so good.
"I'm not looking too far ahead," Lamb said on Sunday before he long tossed on the field. "I know there are some things that I am addressing and have addressed with strength. But it's certainly gotten better. That's where my focus is.
"Optimistically moving forward, it's feeling better and better to get up there on an elevation. Right now, it's a stamina thing and building up those bullets."
Lamb came to camp behind after he had December surgery to repair a disc in his back. Having yet to face hitters, he obviously will not be part of the rotation when the regular season opens, but he is on target to be ready by the end of April.
• Reds Spring Training information
"I'm very happy with how the ball is coming out of his hand, especially the two times I've seen him in the bullpen," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "As he was gaining strength in his lower back and glute, he wasn't really able to use his lower half to the extent that he is currently. And it makes a big difference. The ball is coming out of his hand maybe even better than I had seen when he was with us last year -- just from an arm quickness and velocity standpoint. He looked really good to me."
While dealing with the back issue in the offseason, Lamb wasn't able to do his normal lifting and strength training. No longer in pain, he is able to work on getting stronger.
"No heavy lifting in the offseason was the biggest thing. I'm not going to say it's an excuse for my weaknesses, but it comes with the territory," Lamb said. "But if you don't do anything, you're not going to feel strong or be as strong as you have. I'm playing a little bit of catch up here, but at the same time, all is well."
• Good health and good timing came together as the Reds featured what could be their regular lineup for the first time all spring on Sunday vs. Arizona. Billy Hamilton led off and was followed by Eugenio Suarez, Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Devin Mesoraco and Zack Cozart. The eighth hitter was left fielder Scott Schebler, who could likely be in a platoon at the position with Adam Duvall.
"Certainly it's not etched in stone," Price said. "Left-handed and right-handed starters could create some variations there. ... There are some variations that could happen, but that could be a lineup you could potentially see during the season."
Mesoraco, Hamilton and Cozart have all recently returned from 2015 surgeries. Price said that the training staff schedule lined up right for everyone to play together.
"I'm looking forward to seeing this group a lot this year," Price said.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.