Tim Byrdak’s journey back to the major leagues started this spring in Port St. Lucie Fla. playing Single-A baseball and went through Triple-A Las Vegas as he tried to nurse his injured shoulder back to health. Recalled by the Mets from the minors yesterday Byrdak 39 years old stood in front of his locker stall in the visitors clubhouse in Washington and described the process that got him here as "step by step."

In 2011 and 2012 he was the Mets’ go-to lefty reliever specialist appearing in 128 games. He last pitched in a big-league game Aug. 1 of last year and last September he underwent surgery to repair an anterior capsule tear in his left shoulder. It’s a relatively unusual injury often with an uncertain prognosis. Byrdak said he sought out advice from a few pitchers who had faced the same predicament including Chris Young the former Mets pitcher who went through it.

"It’s weird" Byrdak said. "There really aren’t any reference points on this. If you had Tommy John you can refer to a lot of guys. Do this don’t do this."

On Young’s counsel Byrdak said he has altered his daily routine. He no longer does long tossing with the other pitchers a few hours before a game. Instead in an effort to keep the shoulder "warm" for when he has to pitch late in the game he now waits to do the long tossing with the bullpen once the game has begun.

He said that when he initially hurt the shoulder he was fearful his career was over. He charted his recovery process in a book that he hopes to share with any future pitchers who have to go through the ordeal he said.