Crain takes another step toward return

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jesse Crain threw off the mound for the second time in four days in testing his strained right adductor muscle and called Sunday's session "a step up from the last one."

"I was able to let it go a little more," Crain said. "I could feel it at the end. I started getting a little tired. So I didn't want to push it any further. Hopefully that's part of the process and tomorrow we'll see how it feels."

Because of this injury, Crain had to pull out of participating in the World Baseball Classic with Team Canada. He also has made just one Cactus League appearance.

Most of the problem for Crain has come not from throwing the ball but raising the bar to game level. Hitting that mark during his session covering around 30 pitches Sunday means he could return to a game this week.

"Yeah, I'm hoping. Wednesday I'll probably throw either on the Minor [League] side or another side [session] and then go from there," Crain said. "Definitely it's a step forward."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.