GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians think enough of Anthony Reyes and his recovery from Tommy John surgery to pay him Major League money this season.
Reyes, who was removed from the 40-man roster over the winter and then signed to a Minor League contract, was added back to the 40-man Wednesday and placed on the 60-day disabled list.
The Tribe made this move because Reyes had an out in his contract at the end of camp and could have used it to become a free agent.
"We signed him [to the Minor League deal] with the intent of adding him back to the roster at some point," general manager Mark Shapiro said. "We wanted to gauge where he is [in his recovery], and we're confident in where he's at. We're excited about the progress he's making and feel he can help us this year."
Reyes was a big help at the end of the '08 season, after the Indians acquired him in a low-profile trade with the Cardinals just before the non-waiver Trade Deadline. Reyes made six starts in August and early September and went 2-1 with a 1.83 ERA.
But the Indians acquired Reyes with the knowledge that he had a chronic elbow condition that could give him trouble at any point, and trouble came calling in September '08. The elbow flared up, and Reyes' season ended prematurely. He made the club's Opening Day rotation last year, only to have the elbow affect him again in his eighth start of the season, a memorably rough start against the Reds.
Reyes was shut down and had two surgeries performed in June '09 -- the Tommy John ligament replacement and an ulnar nerve transposition procedure.
If all goes well, Reyes, 28, could be ready to pitch in the big leagues again in the second half. For now, he's just playing long-toss and throwing off flat ground.
"My elbow feels stable and strong," he said. "They say it's a 12-month recovery. I'm hoping for 11."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.