All through camp, they’ve been like the young’ns forced to sit at the kids’ table, looking longingly at the big spread reserved for the adults.

It has been a long haul for Drew Hutchison and Kyle Drabek since that crazy week last June when both of them blew out their elbows two days apart. Later in the summer, they were joined in broken-elbow limbo by Luis Perez. Ever since they all had Tommy John surgery they’ve been on parallel rehab paths, celebrating all the little milestones on the way back to full health.

Here at Blue Jays training camp, they can only watch as the other pitchers in camp go through their progressions from pitching side sessions to throwing batting practice, to working in games and pointing toward opening day. Hutchison and Drabek have smaller dreams.

“When you first start out after surgery,” said Hutchison Friday, “and get to two weeks it’s ‘Hey I get my stitches out.’ Okay, then you get through the next goal and keep building off those small goals. Now the next one for me is to get off the mound. From there, there will be more goals after that. You just try to break the long process up as much as you can.”

“Since camp started,” said Drabek, “you get to see everyone throwing bullpens and you have to just sit back there and watch, knowing you can’t do it. That was the hard part. I’m really excited to get on the mound and start figuring my mechanics and things like that – getting back to being able to pitch.”

That moment is not far away for both pitchers.