SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 05: Pitcher Takashi Saito #48 of the Arizona Diamondbacks watches from the duogut during the spring training game against the Colorado Rockies at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on March 5, 2012 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Takashi Saito's return looks like will not be as quick as thought before.
For the first time since injuring his calf near the end of spring training, reliever Takashi Saito was on the field doing some light work on Tuesday. Just last week, it appeared that he might be able to be activated from the disabled list sometime during the current homestand.
Things look like they may have changed a bit.
According to manager Kirk Gibson, there is "nothing concrete at this time" regarding his return and that they are discussing "formulating a plan for the next best step to come back" to the team.
Before a return, they have several steps they want to see. Thus far, he had not done any running or leg work outside of water.
He did a little light running Wednesday and some covering of first base, but they "are wait and see how he feels" tomorrow before they make any decisions.
Before a return to the bigs, Gibson said he would expect Saito to pitch a couple of times in the minors and "cover the bases and see how he comes out of it." He noted how three times the pitcher this season has had to sprint to first to cover the bag. Saito will have to do that to come back.
"We don't want to have to make a decision to move somebody from off the 25-man squad right now and have him cover the bag one time," Gibson explained.
Essentially, they want him to pitch long-term, not just a week before getting reinjured. "We signed him because we know what he is capable of doing," said Gibson. "We want to put him in a position to be able to do that (pitch) consistently."
It sounds like his return is unlikely during this homestand.
At the very least, it saves Gibson from having to make a tough decision, considering it would look like Wade Miley would be the odd man out, especially since he has been so good so far this season.