Hultzen had been on the DL since he couldn't get loose before his scheduled start April 25 in Las Vegas and was scratched. His injury was later diagnosed as a rotator cuff strain.
After weeks of resting his arm and one rehab start in the Arizona Rookie League, Hultzen was ready to return to Tacoma. He made what might have been his best start of the season Thursday. Hultzen allowed just two hits and one walk and struck out six batters.
Hultzen, who is ranked No. 17 on MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects list, told MiLB.com he felt good Thursday.
"It's good not to worry about how my arm feels, just get back to pitching," he said. "I want to make sure I finish strong, do my best to prevent any other injury."
In five starts at Tacoma this season, Hultzen, the No. 2 pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, is 4-1 with a 2.20 ERA. He has 31 strikeouts and seven walks in 28 2/3 innings, seemingly moving past the struggles with his command he experienced last year after his midseason promotion to Tacoma. If he remains healthy, Hultzen could be in line for a promotion to Seattle before the end of the summer.
Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.