Three days after receiving a dose of anti-inflammatory medicine for his cranky right elbow, Isringhausen threw a full bullpen session at the Mets' Spring Training complex on Wednesday, featuring what pitching coach Dan Warthen called the right-hander's best fastball of the spring.
"Exceptional" was how Warthen described the session. "The hardest I've seen him throw, and all of the other pitches were in order -- two-seamer, cutter, fastball. The ball was jumping out of his hand today."
Isringhausen will throw again on Friday in a Minor League game before making his next Grapefruit League appearance on Sunday. Assuming he remains healthy for the next eight days, Isringhausen will then break camp with the club, giving the Mets another right-handed option to join Bobby Parnell in the late innings.
Considering the 38-year-old Isringhausen has not thrown a Major League pitch since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2009, that much is significant.
"This is the first time I've ever known him, but everybody who talks about him says we shouldn't be surprised," Warthen said. "This guy is the ultimate gamer and competitor. I don't think he would come back if he didn't feel he could do it."
Even so, health will always be an issue for Isringhausen, given both his age and lengthy injury history.
"It's just part of dealing with an elbow that's been surgically repaired however many times," Isringhausen said. "I know if I go out there, as soon as I get on the mound, one pitch, something can pop. Everybody should know that."