Closer Bobby Parnell faced hitters on Saturday for the first time since undergoing surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck on Sept. 10, throwing batting practice -- a total of 36 pitches -- to David Wright, Daniel Murphy and Eric Young Jr.
"You work all offseason throwing bullpens with no batters in there, and it seems like you can't miss a spot," Parnell, who last pitched on July 30, told reporters. "You throw a hitter in there, and it becomes 100 times harder. It feels good to get out there and face some guys, face some hitters and find the strike zone with some intensity turned up. It was a nice feeling today."
The 29-year-old right-hander didn't feel any discomfort.
"I've been taking a lot of baby steps," he said. "I feel great, my arm feels good, neck feels good. Everything's going well. But as far as today, this feels like a big mental hurdle. I didn't know how I would react to balls coming off the bat, and I felt strong out there. I felt good and felt like I had some reaction in the neck, so everything's good."
Parnell is scheduled to throw another round of batting practice on Tuesday.
Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.