SAN DIEGO -- If all goes according to plan, Padres Minor League pitcher Josh Geer will throw off a mound sometime next month during the team's annual instructional league in Peoria, Ariz.
It will be a long time in coming.
Geer, 28, hasn't been on a mound since April, shortly before he had surgery that month to remove eight lymph nodes from his neck after being diagnosed with Stage III melanoma, a type of skin cancer.
Today, Geer is cancer free.
"I feel a lot better," Geer said Tuesday from his home in Forney, Texas. "My shoulder and my arm are close to being in shape.
"I just want to get back throwing again and being around the guys."
Geer recently returned to Texas after spending three weeks at the Padres' Spring Training facility in Arizona, where he received rehabilitation on his neck, getting it stretched back out after months of inactivity following surgery.
"I was hoping to get back to pitching this season," Geer said.
Geer has been throwing on flat ground to upwards of 110 feet and hopes that sometime in October he can throw from a mound in Arizona, which should put him on schedule to be ready for the start of Spring Training.
Instructional league begins Sept. 15 with games starting Sept. 20.
Following surgery, Geer started a treatment program for his cancer that required him to receive Interferon alfa-2B, which stimulated the immune system in its fight against the cancer. He had that five times a week for a month.
Where Geer ran into trouble was when he switched to injections of the Interferon, where he was set to receive three shots a week for 11 months. But Geer didn't react well to the shots and has since switched to a different form of treatment called Leukine.
"I could go all day without eating, I felt tired and was depressed," Geer said. "That's not me. I felt like I was on my death bed."
Geer, who made two starts this season for Triple-A Tucson, was a third-round Draft pick in 2005 out of Rice University. He was the Padres' Minor League Pitcher of the Year two years later and made his Major League debut in 2008.
Geer was 3-8 with a 5.28 ERA in 24 games with the Padres in 2008 and 2009. Geer spent all of last season in the Minor Leagues.
Now, Geer said, he's ready to move ahead toward getting back to pitching. Getting on top of a mound in Arizona next month would certainly be a step in the right direction.
"I feel perfectly fine," said Geer, who has checkups every three months to make sure that his cancer hasn't returned. "I'm ready to go."