SAN FRANCISCO -- If ever there was a man ready to pitch -- right this minute, not that nebulous "sometime" -- it's Giants right-hander Jason Schmidt.
Last season's National League Cy Young Award runnerup went through offseason elbow surgery then developed an aching right shoulder during the spring after pushing himself a bit too hard.
But after throwing 76 pitches in five innings in a minor league game at Visalia on Saturday, then throwing great breaking balls during a strong bullpen session prior to Monday's game against the Milwaukee Brewers, the 31-year-old pitcher is anxious to get his season started.
Jason Schmidt / P
Weight: 205 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
Schmidt will do just that Friday when he gets his first start as the Giants begin a three-game series against National League West rival Los Angeles at SBC Park.
"I don't even know what's normal anymore," said Schmidt before finding out that he would pitch Friday. "I don't know what's normal or pain. I've been under the microscope but I have to see what I feel like in a game to know."
That's the ticket, said Schmidt, who was examined by team physician Ken Akuzuki and pronounced medically sound. Pitching on the side or against Single-A hitters won't cut it. He needs emotion and a Major League game with implications, not medical printouts and pitch counts. So far, that gotta-do-it feeling is definitely lacking.
"I don't have that excitement yet," said Schmidt. "I won't really know how I feel until the adrenaline starts surging."
Manager Felipe Alou can hardly stand the wait himself, especially with the Giants getting off to a 4-3 start this season and his big horse still stuck in the corral.
"He's the key for us," said the manager.
Robb Nen / P
Weight: 220 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
Nen OK: Rehabbing pitcher Robb Nen continues his quest to pitch again as well after missing last season after three right shoulder surgeries. He again threw off a mound Monday morning.
"It's a tough situation," said Nen, the Giants' all-time saves leader, who is currently throwing every other day. "It's nice to be able to throw off the mound and I'm definitely headed in the right direction. Right now I have no other choice. This is where I am right now, trying to get it back."
Coming up: The Giants host the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night at 6:05 p.m. PT, with Dustin Hermanson (0-1) opposing Chris Capuano and Opening Night fireworks to follow the game. The series concludes with a 12:35 p.m. contest on Wednesday at SBC Park.
Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.