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Reds’ Rijo Hopeful of Comeback

February 15, 1998

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) _ Cincinnati Reds pitcher Jose Rijo, trying to come back after four elbow surgeries, threw for the first time at spring training Friday and felt no pain.

Rijo, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since July 1995, didn’t throw from the mound, but did several sets of long tosses. He threw about 25 pitches each from 45 feet, 90 feet and 100 feet.

``I feel awesome,″ he said. ``I loved it. I threw real hard. I wanted to let it go and impress some people, open some eyes.″

Renowned orthopedic surgeon James Andrews, who performed all four of Rijo’s operations, said he was impressed with Rijo’s progress.

``He’s throwing loose, not thinking about his elbow,″ Andrews said. ``Before, he would tell us he felt great, but he was having some soreness. But I don’t think he’s hiding anything right now. He’s not having any pain.″

Rijo, the 1990 World Series MVP, had his fourth surgery last September after three other failed comeback attempts. He said he expects to be on the mound in two or three weeks, with one day of rest between each workout.

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