Injured first baseman Sean Casey is progressing so well in his recovery from a back injury that he could be back in the Pirates starting lineup by the end of this month.
Casey took batting practice, infield practice and ran the bases Saturday for the first time since suffering two fractures in his lower back on April 14.
"Today was a real good day. It was a real good step in the right direction because I did everything I need to do,' said Casey. "Everything feels good. I was really encouraged today by everything."
Unless Casey is bothered by excessive pain or soreness following his upcoming workouts this week, he believes he will be ready to begin a Minor League rehab assignment next weekend. If there are no setbacks there, Casey said he could be ready to return to the Pirates as early as May 29.
"The game plan was to see how this road trip goes, get back to doing baseball stuff," said Casey. "And if all goes well, [I'll] have the off-day Thursday and go out Friday somewhere for the weekend for maybe two or three games and be back on Monday," said Casey.
Casey has not yet been told where he'll be taking his rehab assignment next weekend. Indianapolis will be visiting Scranton-Wilkes Barre. Double-A Altoona will travel to Erie.
"Double-A, Triple-A, it doesn't matter. I just want to be able to see some pitches and get some at-bats," said Casey. "When you get in the game, it's a whole different animal to just get that adrenaline flowing again, get into a game situation and see how I feel the next day and see how I am able to bounce back."
"Trying to hit him was like trying to drink coffee with a fork." - Willie Stargell on Sandy Koufax