Orioles right-hander Jake Arrieta told everyone at the Orioles Reach holiday party how good his arm was feeling after he had that big spur removed from his pitching elbow, and he is even more upbeat about the prospects for a healthy 2012 now that the team has opened pitcher/catcher workouts at the Ed Smith Stadium complex.
"It's been great,'' he said. "I told a lot of people in the organization, and friends and family have been wondering how I've been, and I've really never felt this good. I feel fresh. I feel like I'm able to throw with the same intesity -- the same effort -- with a lot less restriction. Just really couldn't be happier with the progress I've made.
"I was able to get to 100 percent very quickly. In December, I felt like I was back to 100 percent where I could go out there and put the same effort, get the same results with much less restriction like I said. I'm just really encouraged with those results. I'm definitely well ahead of where I should be."
So, does that mean he's feeling very confident about his chances of taking a big step forward in his progression as a major league starting pitcher.
"I'm just very excited to see what I'm capable of doing over the course of spring training and moving on into the season," he said. "Not being set back by a fourth or fifth-inning period where I can't even get my arm up or get that same life that I usually have on all my pitches. Being able to go out there from start to finish and have the same amount of bite on my breaking balls and the same amount of life on my fastball from the first inning to the eighth inning, that's going to be great for me and the team."