PHOENIX -- The good news is that Brewers reliever Brandon Kintzler is finally throwing without pain in his right elbow, and feels he's past the mysterious ailment that derailed his Spring Training.
But Kintzler said he is not scheduled to throw off a mound until April 2, meaning he's out of the running for Milwaukee's bullpen and will have to begin the season on the disabled list. He reported to camp as a leading contender for an Opening Day roster spot.
"At least I'm not hurting," he said. "I can show up every morning on one thing, and that's throwing and getting better."
With starter Shaun Marcum on track to begin the season in the rotation, it appears the Brewers have two bullpen openings. Candidates include left-handers Zach Braddock and Manny Parra and right-handers Tim Dillard and Mike McClendon. Parra and Dillard are out of options.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke agreed that Kintzler is no longer an option for Opening Day. The same goes for left-hander Juan Perez, an early camp standout who suffered a partially collapsed lung earlier this month.
Like Kintzler, Perez is making good progress in a throwing program, but will simply run out of time.
Kintzler had been dogged for weeks by discomfort in the same elbow that bothered him last season. Surgeons inserted a screw in July to repair a fracture.
A series of tests last week revealed no answers to his lingering discomfort, and Kintzler went for a second opinion from Reds physician Tim Kremchek on Sunday. Kremchek came up with a diagnosis - "throwers arm," technically called valgus extension overload -- and recommended anti-inflammatory medication and a series of deep stretching exercises.
By Monday, Kintzler was already feeling better.
"It sounded like there was a kink in the hose, and what they had to do was expand it back out," Kintzler said. "It feels great now."