REHABBING SHOULDER: Madison’s Bryan Bullington is recovering from shoulder irritation but hopes to be back with the Orix Buffaloes of the Nippon Professional Baseball league within the next two weeks. He’s been on the inactive roster since May 21 and has made two rehab starts.
REHABBING SHOULDER: Madison’s Bryan Bullington is recovering from shoulder irritation but hopes to be back with the Orix Buffaloes of the Nippon Professional Baseball league within the next two weeks. He’s been on the inactive roster since May 21 and has made two rehab starts.

Former Madison Cub Bryan Bullington continues to work his way back from a shoulder problem that took him out of the Orix Buffaloes’ starting rotation last month.

Bullington made his last start for the Buffaloes on May 20 when he lasted just 41 pitches over 2 1/3 innings of a 3-2 loss to the Softbank Hawks in Fukuoka, Japan.

The 34-year-old right-hander left that game due to discomfort in his pitching shoulder and was taken off the Orix active roster (similar to being placed on the disabled list in Major League Baseball) to allow time to recover. Bullington was eligible to go back on the Buffaloes’ active roster on May 31 but was held out for more recovery time and to make some rehab starts prior to rejoining the Nippon Professional Baseball league club.

Contacted this week, Bullington described the problem as “some shoulder irritation” and said that he had pitched two rehab games so far and was hopeful of being ready to go back to Orix in a “week or two.”

Bullington is no stranger to shoulder problems. After being drafted by Pittsburgh as the No. 1 overall pick in 2002 out of Ball State University, Bullington experienced shoulder problems in 2005 while pitching for the AAA Indianapolis Indians and was shut down later that season after being called up by the Pirates.

Bullington had surgery on his pitching shoulder in October 2005 and missed the entire 2006 season. He rehabbed the injury and came back strong to start 2007 and was the best pitcher in AAA until he experienced shoulder fatigue in June of 2007.

He rested the shoulder then and was back to form to start and win the 2007 Triple-A All-Star Game in July and got a call-up to the Pirates late that season.

He was claimed by the Cleveland Indians in 2008 and then picked up by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2009 before being signed by the Kansas City Royals later that year. He pitched the 2010 season in the Royals organization — with AAA Omaha and at Kansas City — and scored his lone Major League win in a 1-0 shutout of the New York Yankees on Aug. 15, 2010 before opting to go overseas staring with the 2011 season.

The 1999 Madison graduate and Indiana Mr. Baseball joined Orix this season after pitching four seasons in Japan with the Hiroshima Carp. He is 2-5 with a 4.17 ERA in nine starts with Orix this year after facing 197 batters in 45.1 innings pitched. He’s allowed 42 hits while striking out 26 and walking 17.

Bullington had struggled in his last three starts, however, going 0-2 with a 13.92 ERA since his last win on April 29.

Overall in his five seasons in Japan, Bullington is 42-45 in 119 starts with a 3.31 ERA over 729.2 innings pitched.