08/12/08 6:17 PM ET
Pirates pick Scheppers throws at PNC
Second-round selection tests right shoulder for Bucs
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
"It's not a make-or-break bullpen for him," general manager Neal Huntington said before watching Scheppers. "It's just another step in his return to health."
Scheppers is undergoing a variety of medical exams by team doctors while in Pittsburgh to assess the progress of his injured right shoulder. With Friday being the deadline to sign all Draft picks, the Pirates will have just a few days to determine how steep a signing bonus they may be willing to offer the former Fresno State Bulldog.
Scheppers was deemed a "risky pick" by Huntington, due to the fact that the right-hander had been shut down because of rotator cuff and labrum damage. Had Scheppers not sustained the arm injury, he almost certainly would have been selected in the first round of the Draft and likely in the top half of that first round.
When teams, wary of the severity of the injury, passed over Scheppers, the Pirates nabbed him with the second pick in the second round and have been extremely involved in watching Scheppers' return to the mound.
So what's the consensus?
"[It] looks like the ball is coming out of his hand well," Huntington said. "He's not 100 percent yet. He's not throwing his bullpen [sessions] at 100 percent velocity. He's not throwing breaking balls yet. But the signs are definitely positive."
Pirates' area scout Sean Campbell has watched every long toss and bullpen session Scheppers has thrown since returning to the mound this summer. Campbell was joined by other Pirates scouting supervisors to watch Scheppers' last bullpen session before he flew to Pittsburgh.
Including Scheppers, the Pirates still have not signed half of their first 10 picks from the Draft.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.