PHOENIX -- Brewers left-hander Chris Narveson has never been so happy to be just one of the guys.
Eight and a half months after major shoulder surgery, Narveson deemed himself completely healed and said he is a full, unrestricted participant in the Brewers' starting rotation derby. Only one thing was out of the ordinary during Narveson's latest mound session on Wednesday.
"I turned around and three of the trainers were sitting over there watching, just to see how I looked," Narveson said. "They were like, 'Man it looks great. Effortless.' It's always fun to get that good feedback and see the progression. … When you look back and see smiles and laughs, you know everything looks good."
He felt good, too.
"It feels like you've got a new arm," Narveson said.
If he continues in good health, Narveson is a good bet to win one of the openings in the starting rotation behind right-handers Yovani Gallardo and Marco Estrada. Narveson began last season as Milwaukee's No. 5 starter, but made only two starts before he was shut down with the shoulder injury. On May 1, he had surgery for a torn labrum and rotator cuff, and his season was over.
Looking back, Narveson said the shoulder was already an issue at the start of Spring Training.
"It was kind of off and on. It's so hard because you're competitive," Narveson said. "It never felt like something that was a big deal. It was always like, 'OK, you need to strengthen and do your maintenance programs.' But as it went on, one day it would feel not bad and the next day it was, 'Oh, man.' It would go back and forth. Then, it obviously got to a head where after that [April 5] Atlanta game, you couldn't get loose, you couldn't do much."
Narveson surrendered five runs on four hits in four innings that day.
"Next thing you know, you wake up the next day and it's hard to pick [the arm] up," he said. "It got to the point where you really knew something was wrong."
He'll aim to make up for lost time in 2013 as part of a remade Brewers starting rotation. Only Gallardo and Narveson are back from the five-man group that began 2012; Zack Greinke, Randy Wolf and Shaun Marcum are gone.
"I've been there and I know I can do it," Narveson said.