PEORIA, Ariz. -- That the Padres are still looking for a few good relievers to fill spots in their bullpen isn't something Mike Adams wants to hear.

Ideally, Adams would be in the bullpen mix this spring, looking to replicate the success that he had a year ago when he posted a 2.48 ERA in 54 games.

Instead, Adams continues to work his way back from offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

He would like nothing more than to be getting ready for the regular season, but Adams is also a realist and knows there's no sense in pushing his timetable for a quick return. Still, he's very encouraged by where he's at with his throwing program.

"There's no pain, no ill effects from the surgery. Everything feels natural. It feels like I'm getting my arm ready for the season," Adams said.

Adams was one of a few bright spots for the Padres in 2008 -- a season he started with Triple-A Portland, but ended as a valuable member of the Major League bullpen.

Adams was promoted on May 22 and proceeded to post the most strikeouts for National League relievers (74) from that date on, as well as the sixth-best ERA (2.48). He limited opposing batters to a .209 average and earned the trust of manager Bud Black along the way.

But Adams complained of soreness in his right shoulder in the last month of the regular season, even while posting a 1.93 ERA. He eventually had an MRI that showed a small tear in his labrum, and on Oct. 17 in Los Angeles, he had surgery to repair the tear.

Adams recently started throwing from 90 feet on flat ground. After a day off Tuesday, he will be back at it again Wednesday. The plan is for Adams to throw on flat ground from 90, 105, 120 and 135 feet with a day off between each throwing session.

Adams said he figures to throw in the bullpen after that routine is done. He's still not sure when he will be able to pitch in a game, a Minor League game or on a rehabilitation assignment, though initial estimates had him returning around the All-Star break.

The way Adams said he was feeling Tuesday, though, lead him to believe he might well return sooner.