GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Frank Herrmann had finally found a comfort zone on the mound. He added a spike curveball last season, saw improved results and headed into camp this spring confident about his chances of making the Indians' Opening Day bullpen.
After injuring a ligament in his right elbow, Herrmann is now investigating the proper course of action. He met with arm specialist Dr. Lewis Yocum on Saturday and Tommy John surgery was part of the discussion. A typical recovery from that ligament-replacement procedure can take between a year and a year-and-a-half.
Before making a decision, Herrmann wants to explore all of his options.
"I'm going to have to get as much information as I can," Herrmann said, "so I can make an informed decision, one that I can live with. I know what I want to do, but I've got to be smart about it. I want to pitch. I want to shut it down for a little while and be able to contribute halfway through the season.
"Whether that's realistic or logical, I still haven't wrapped my head around that, to be honest."
Herrmann felt a sharp pain in his throwing elbow during his one-inning appearance against the A's on Monday. The right-hander pushed through the discomfort, but lost command of his pitches and surrendered four runs on five hits. It was a discouraging end to a spring that had hardly begun for the pitcher.
Last season, the 28-year-old Herrmann posted a 2.33 ERA in 15 games for Cleveland, striking out 14 and walking four over 19 1/3 innings. It was a small sample, but it gave Herrmann (signed out of Harvard as a non-drafted free agent in 2005) evidence that the curveball he added during his time at Triple-A Columbus could play on the big league stage.
That had Herrmann excited about competing for a bullpen job this spring.
"I feel like I finally got myself where I wanted to be, and thought I could be," Herrmann sid. "Coming into this year, I felt great. I still physically feel great other than the ligament. It's frustrating, but it's part of the game. I've had seven full seasons where I haven't been unavailable one day.
"I've been able to be durable. I've been able to go out there and help the team. Now that I feel like I've got to the point where I can really contribute, it's frustrating."