KANSAS CITY -- It's been just over a year since Royals right-hander Felipe Paulino underwent Tommy John surgery. He's got his elbow in shape, but now it's his shoulder holding him back.
After one rehabilitation start with Double-A Northwest Arkansas on June 11, Paulino was brought to Kansas City for evaluation by team doctors for stiffness in his back. Now, he says the elbow and back are fine, but he's struggling with stiffness in his right shoulder.
"My elbow has been shut down for a year and then this thing happened to my shoulder. It's like the same thing," Paulino said. "I've been throwing a lot in the Minor Leagues, it's not only Arkansas, but I threw in Arizona before my first official rehab start in Arkansas. I've thrown 32 or 35 innings so that is a lot after one year. I think that's why my shoulder is tight, because of the work."
Paulino threw 65 pitches in a simulated game on June 25 and received cortisone shots about a week later. This Monday, he's set to test his progress again when he faces a batter for two innings in another simulated game.
"It feels all right, not great, but all right, so we will keep moving forward," Paulino said. "We've got a simulated game Monday and we will see what's going on after that."
Paulino was originally slated to return this month, but says he's listening to his body's cues and only schedules his work a week at a time.
"Hopefully, I will be back soon," Paulino said. "I don't want to expect too much, but I will be back soon. That's my deal right now."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.