SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Jeff Bianchi, one of the Royals' top prospects at shortstop, is back after missing the entire 2010 season because of reconstructive elbow surgery.
Bianchi, 24, underwent surgery 11 months ago on March 19. He was able to resume some throwing and hitting about five months later.
"I got to a point now where I'm feeling great," he said. "It's been a long process with the throwing program."
Bianchi came to 2010 Spring Training after having a big season with Class A Wilmington and Double-A Northwest Arkansas. He batted a combined .308, which was the third-best mark in the Royals' Minor League system. The previous year he won the Frank White Defensive Player of the Year Award with Wilmington. But before that camp ended, he underwent surgery.
"It was tough missing the season," he said. "I don't wish that on anyone. As a baseball player, you want to be out there playing and competing and helping your team win, and I didn't get to do any of that last year. So baseball-wise, it was tough."
But he believes his recovery is virtually complete and he'll be able to play Cactus League games. Mike Aviles, who went through similar Tommy John surgery in 2009, has been sharing his recovery experiences.
"He's been great, he's helped me out a lot," Bianchi said.
Bianchi, a second-round Draft choice in 2005, plans to break camp with a full-season Minor League club.