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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Faith

This morning I was doing my throws and was feeling great.  That made me reflect a little bit on where I had come from and what it took just to get here.

I think the simplest answer is faith.

I had faith when I walked into Overlake that day that I would pitch again.  I had that same faith when I walked out with my arm in a heavy wrap and a sling.

I had faith in my surgeon that he did what was necessary to fix the problem. Much to Katy's dismay, she didn't need faith as he showed her pictures.

I had/have faith in Ken Roll to bring me back and work his craft like only he can.

I have faith in myself to be dedicated to the process of healing, rehabbing, and coming back to the mound.

It's honestly not always easy to keep the faith when it comes to this sort of thing. However, every time you get into your car or go on a hike, you have faith that you'll get where you're going.

I will be back on the mound in April or May.  I have that faith.




Monday, December 17, 2012

The Sock Trick

I wanted to share with you something that Jorge Reyes of the Padres shared with me over Twitter. Like me, Jorge lives in the Northwest where it's often too cold to go throw outside..especially right now where the lows are dipping near freezing. Also like me, Jorge occasionally has issues finding people to throw with him.

He posted one day saying he couldn't find anyone to throw with so "I guess the sock trick will have to do today."  I asked him what that was all about.  So, he explained it and sent me this picture 


To do this, you'll need a long baseball sock, a baseball, and either some really good athletic tape or a basketball shooting sleeve.  I simply used the shooting sleeve that I had from surgery to cover up my incisions....anything that'll hold the sock on works.  If you throw some gas, tie a knot in the end of the sock so the seam doesn't blow out on you.

Anyway, grab the baseball in your throwing hand and shove your hand and ball down the sock most of the way.  You can see that Jorge left a little room at the end of his. This allows the baseball to travel a little way.  Then, either put the sleeve on or use the athletic tape to secure the sock to your forearm.  Don't do it so hard that you're going to cut off circulation or anything, but it's gotta be really secure. 

That's it.  Grab the baseball in the sock and get your grip.  Then go through your throwing motion and let the ball go as if you were throwing to a partner.  That's the sock trick.

It's been a real saving grace for me lately.  I have only really been able to throw my distance on Saturdays at practice but this lets me throw anytime anywhere.   I estimate distance based on the velocity and my arm angle.  You have a pretty good idea of what you need to do to throw 60 feet, 75 feet, and 105 feet.  You just replicate that indoors.  

You can also practice your grips if you're a pitcher.  I'll usually alternate between my fastball and change up grips just for variety.  

Click Here for a video of how to set it up:   Fast forward to about 3:35 and you'll see exactly how I utilize this every other day.

This has helped me immensely in my rehab.  It's incredibly important after Tommy John to stay on schedule and get your throws in.  Not only do you need to get everything "back" but your mechanics are likely to be pretty screwy.  This will help.

My fiance is pretty thankful for this.  Her hand hurt pretty bad after the last session.  I felt awful for her because she was trying to be supportive and wonderful.  I'm lucky to have her.  I'm also lucky to have great teammates who are really supportive of my recovery and are always willing to help out.

Even in 38 degree weather....under covered cages...in the Northwest.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pitching Coach?

It's always great to see Ken. He's a pretty entertaining guy especially while MLB's winter meetings are going on.  I think when you've worked for an organization for the better part of 20 years, you can have an opinion on what the Mariners do.

I can tell you that he isn't happy about the Jason Bay signing.  As much as he likes Raul, he's convinced the M's are pursuing him only because he's moving here and they're hoping for the hometown discount.  Sounds a lot like the Padres.  Let's see who nobody else wants and then sign them.

Except Jason Marquis.  I like him a lot and I thought he was a great signing.  Well done Padres!

At any rate, Ken suggested that I get a pitching coach at some point.  Coming off of not throwing for over a year will tend to wreck your mechanics.  And it does. My release point takes about 30 tosses to hone in on now.  It's hard man.

I don't think it would be a bad idea at all actually. I think it'd probably be a good idea.  I need my mechanics to be good when I get ready to get going.

Luckily, the Mariners are auctioning off a pitching lesson from Carl Willits their pitching coach.  It'll be at Safeco and everything, but I'd actually want to be there for the pitching lesson more than the experience.  So, here's the auction: http://auction.mlb.com/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/ProductDisplay?prrfnbr=198645539&prmenbr=33072944&aunbr=198992249

At any rate, I'm definitely not opposed to getting some coaching.  We'll see.

On a side note, I'm cleared to start really throwing from flat ground at full distance in January. :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Back to Ken

You never know what you're going to get when you start throwing apparently.  Some days I can feel my ligament as if it's going to burst out of my elbow.  Some days, I feel nothing at all which is a welcome, but still unfamiliar, non-feeling.

Funny enough, I think most of my ligament issues are from sleeping funny or working on my iPhone games.  That's when it seems to hurt the most anyway.

So, back to Ken I go tomorrow morning.  I'll get evaluated and checked out to make sure I'm on the right track and that this is allllll normal. That's what I'm hoping anyway.  It's starting to feel really great to throw.

We've started doing some BP and pitching practice every Saturday morning.  After taking a year off from the game, I can't express how amazing it is to be able to stand in a batters box and actually take swings.  I'm hitting the ball harder and with accuracy which is simply unbelievable.  See, I'm a lousy hitter.  So, to even be able to hit with any sort of authority is strange to me.  LASIK has helped that out a lot.  It's amazing what you can do when you see the ball.

I felt positive enough about my swing that I actually bought a new BBCOR bat on Black Friday for $70.  A minor investment in my poor hitting skills, but a pretty good one so far. I don't tend to swing non-wood bats but this one felt great.  At some point, I'll retire my 5 year old Birch bat (http://www.barnstablebat.com/newnahaprqub.html) and have to have a backup.  So, I have a backup now as well as a bat that other people can use.

I've also tinkered with the cutter that I've talked about before.  I've started throwing that a bit in the 60 foot sessions and it's absolutely moving like I thought.  It's reminiscent of my old sidearm pitch that swung outside to inside on a right handed hitter.  This one does that and seems to dip a bit too.  This is at about 50% velocity though so that movement will probably change.

PT is getting dull now. It's the annoying part at the end of my workout.  I'll talk more about that later.  Usually a pep talk from my man Ken Roll is all I need to keep going.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

More throwing

Well, happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

I had a great throwing session last week.  I met some teammates for some drills last Saturday at the covered batting cages at Newport High.  Good thing they were covered because the rain was pretty relentless.

It was great to actually throw with a little purpose.  It felt better to do something with purpose instead of just tossing the ball against the wall.

When I was recovering I kept goofing around with different grips for ideas I had for pitches.  One was a sort of "cut" fastball idea where I grip the single seam near the top of the horseshoe between my index and middle finger.  With the way I throw, I figured that the weight distribution would be uneven and cause the ball to move.  I threw about 10 of those on Sunday and 8 cut into a right handed batter.  Nice thing is, there's no additional torque on my arm and the grip is pretty solid.  I've got a few months to work it out and it could be pretty good.

I overdid it though.  I was pretty sore for a few days.  Lesson learned there.  I don't think it was just the throwing.  Batting takes a toll too.  On a strange note, I'm finally hitting this year.  Lots of positives are going on there including:
-Actually making contact with the ball
-Not popping every single pitch up
-Driving balls the other way.

Threw again today with Katy's sister.  It was pretty good.  I did the customary 60-70 throws at varying lengths.  I can already tell that it's going to take me a lot longer to warm up than it used to.  Maybe that will go away after a while, but right now I feel like I'm stopping just as soon as my arm actually gets loose.

It was fun.  I really forgot how much fun it is to play ball.  May can't come soon enough.

Oh, if you're interested, you can hit up www.sierramariners.org and see some video.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Practice

Saturday morning we had an impromptu practice.  We headed down to Rainier Beach High School which, let me just say this: Schools have plenty of money to have athletic facilities like that.  It's a ridiculously beautiful turfed field with nice dugouts and well manicured outfield.  Did I mention the brand new L screens and perfect batting cages? No? Well, they have them too.

It's a shame that the cages aren't properly covered and all of the leaves, branches, and other crap just get blown right in.  There was also garbage in and around the field. They should take a lesson from Lake Washington High School and not let a great field just get destroyed.  So, when you vote on education issues, just remember that there are some of these athletic fields and equipment that, once purchased, get ignored.

It's important that they let players and teams get on those fields to keep them up and get some use out of them. This field at RBHS is amazing and probably won't be used for another 5 or 6 months.  We'll likely be out there every few weeks and shake the water off of the tarps, rake the mound, pick up some branches, etc. We're hoping the PSSBL adds this to the rotation so another good field can get played on more than once a week for a few months a year.

Anyway that's enough of that.

Ivar, Chuck, and a few other people got together Saturday morning and knocked out some throwing and hitting.  I got my tosses in at a strong 90 feet.  It does take a while for me to start hitting targets though. I overthrew Chuck a few times, but finally dialed it in near the end. My mechanics have definitely changed and I can feel it now.  I think that's why I've been missing.  My release point is off.  I'm confident I'll dial it in within the next 5 months.  Yeah, I think I've got time.  The velocity was ok, but I'm not even worried about it yet nor should I be according to Ken.

I also hit for the first time in over a year.  The pain in my elbow was so bad that I couldn't swing worth much for the last few years.  Saturday I felt pretty good.  I hit a lot of stuff the opposite way and managed to drill a few. I think it's good to be away from that for a while.  You can kind of "reset" yourself and forget the bad habits you've learned.

The next day was no unusual soreness.  Everything felt great.  I did forget that after your take batting practice for the first time in a while, your hands and hips get pretty sore.  My forearms and shoulders felt good though.  Those are usually other spots that I get sore after throwing and hitting.

At any rate, it's great to be back on a field with my teammates.  Even if I'm limited.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Throwing...again

It's sooooo tempting just to let one fly.

It's also frustrating.  I don't like being able to lift weights as heavy as I'm used to.  I still can't do that.  I've been sticking to the low impact weight stuff.  It has been lots of low weights at high volumes as well as a ton of cardio....every single morning.

It's getting boring honestly, but I look and feel great right now so I don't want to change anything.  Plus, I'm convinced that I can't lift any really heavy weights right now.  So, I guess it's on to the dull cardio and light weight lifting.

So I can't let loose in the gym but I feel like I could let loose with my arm.  It feels SO much stronger.  Even now I feel like I could blow a fastball by a batter without a problem.  My guess is that it's the PT that's really strengthening things.

Oh, and the PT...yeah, I'm still doing that every morning too.  It's tiring and I'm pretty tired of doing it honestly.  I just wish all of this stuff was over and I could lift weights again like I used to and throw a fastball like I used to.

I've been doing is a lot of foam roller work too.  Have you guys heard about these?  They're giant foam rollers that you basically roll on.  They're fantastic.

That's a foam roller.  Most gyms have these hanging around now.  I roll along my IT band like she's doing as well as all the way up and down my back; over my hamstrings and quads; and then especially my elbow.  It seems to help dissipate the lactic acid that gets built up during exercise.  I like it a lot.




Friday, October 26, 2012

More throwing updates

This week has been another struggle.

Not in the pain sense. I think taking last week off did the trick in a lot of different ways.  I did a LOT of cardio which helped trimmed me up.  This is usually when I would start doing heavier weights with lots of volume to put on lean muscle, but instead it's a just a ton of light light weights.  Oh well.

What I struggled with the last couple of days was finding the release point.  I just couldn't seem to get it consistent.  It may have been the fact that I wasn't throwing a baseball.  I was throwing my little pink ball that I had around.  I suppose I should try again with a tennis ball.

Part of it was trying to throw lightly. As anyone who's played catch with me can attest, I have a very hard time just tossing lightly.  I'm much more accurate when I can let it go.  So, throwing lightly and being accurate isn't in my repertoire.

I think this had to do with release point more than anything.  I could feel myself releasing way too early or way too late.  I had a lot of accurate throws too, but a good one-third of the tosses were way off.

I may just be trying to get too fine with control as well. The spot at the gym that I throw at is a wall that has a lot of racks on the top that hold the balance balls.  So, while I should theoretically have plenty of room, I think that gets into my head a little bit and I get off my game.

It's hard to actually play catch here.  It's been raining a bunch and the timing has been tough. By the time Katy gets home, it's too dark.  So, I've taken to doing it in the gym against a wall.  Luckily, most people at my gym know the deal so they usually just give me 4 or 5 minutes to finish up the tosses.

I can do a remarkable job of flipping a 2lb plyoball backwards though.  Talk about accuracy!  I can do that without thinking.  It's pretty slick.

Next week is 45 feet with a baseball.  I'm expecting better results.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Whoa boy

Second round of baseball throwing today.  I think it makes a difference when I throw after I've done cardio and some weightlifting.  Today felt great.  I mean, really great.  I had to actually restrain my arm to keep the tossing light.

Monday, I threw cold.  I don't think I'll be doing that again.  It felt cold and I felt like I had to be more careful. The only upside on that is that I really have to concentrate on my form and using my hips, lats, shoulders and everything else.

Throwing warm is the way to go.  I think it was after just 15 minutes of cardio too.  So, good mental note for you folks going through this.

Next throwing session is Friday. 30 tosses at 30 feet I think .  I honestly lost my throwing sheet and need to call those guys and get another one.  Whoops.

On another note, taking a week off from PT and weightlifting has been great.  My cardio idea has been working out really well and the core stuff is feeling awesome too.  Plus, the gym sessions are shorter which lets me hit the sauna for a while.  I've been struggling with a little cold or something for the last like 10 days and the sauna has really helped me feel better.  As always, so has the gym. I firmly believe in sweating out a cold.

Anyway.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Baseball toss

I managed to get some time and room at the gym to start my baseball throwing today.  Today was 20 tosses at about 15 feet.

Overall it felt pretty good.  I'm using my elbow significantly less honestly.  I feel that I'm driving with my legs more and am using everything BUT my elbow.  I'm also coming through a lot wider in my delivery so far.  In other words, I've got quite a 3/4 delivery going right now.  I'm sure that will change as I get more comfortable with throwing, but I'm going to try to keep the good stuff if you will.

I'm going easy at the gym and sticking to just cardio and core. My surgery site has been getting a little balky and sore this last week or so.  I've gone back to my lefty mouse  at work which should help.  I think a week off will do it about right. I need it anyway.

It's surprisingly hard to throw softly.  I always feel like I can let it rip, but I know there will be consequences if I do. I don't want to derail anything.  One muscle that's really interestingly sore is the tricep right behind the elbow.  It's definitely not the ligament itself, but it's a muscle around it.  It's really a weird thing.  It's definitely one of those muscles that you didn't know you used when you throw.

It's off and running though.  We'll see how it goes.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Throwing program

The throwing program started today.

I threw a tennis ball at what was supposed to be 30 feet 20 times very lightly.  I can't believe I almost started sweating.

It felt ok. There was a little tightness on my tricep right at the elbow but nothing in the ligament itself.  It was harder than I thought it would be.  My form felt good.

It's all flat ground.  It's in my office actually since we have a lot of room for now.  I toss against an exposed brick wall.  I only nearly hit Bob (my test lead) once and it was on a bad brick bounce.  Plus, it's a tennis ball and it wouldn't have hurt him too much.

So, the routine is to throw on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  This week it's 20 tosses with a tennis ball at 30 feet.  Next week it's a baseball.

It's scary man. I've gotta be honest. I'm not as worried with the tennis ball, but the baseball is a totally different story.  I kept waiting for the ligament to hurt like it used to, but there wasn't any pain.  There's not any soreness yet.  I'll ice it tonight just in case.

I'm starting to wonder if this is going to be more of a mental challenge than a physical one. The throwing program ramps up pretty quickly actually and I'll post it once I get it in Excel.

If you wonder....I am supposed to be up to 90 throws at various ranges in 21 weeks or 5 months.  That puts me right at about Spring Training time to start throwing a few fastballs.

I suppose that's how it should be.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wait, Figgins is still on a team?

The NFL referees got back to work finally and will be officiating shortly.  That means that baseball season is quickly coming to a close and the NFL is actually gearing up.  

It's great to see the Padres and Mariners actually improve this year.  It's been fun to watch both clubs progress and, while neither are in contention, they are in a progression.  They are progressing toward the non-suck line  That's the line that says "Go ahead and wear that jersey with pride" or "At least we're better than the Red Sox".  Good place to be actually. It means the stadium isn't crowded yet but the baseball isn't as abysmal as it was last year or even earlier this year.

Did you know Chone Figgins still plays for the Mariners?  Not JUST sitting on the bench plays, but actually in the field, suited up, and taking hacks plays.  I thought they just made up a rare and incurable disease for him and left him in Buffalo or Omaha or something.  It reminds me of what the Padres did with Jason Bartlett before releasing him. Oh he was on the 15 day DL for about half a season before he was released.  

My man Jake Peavy is throwing well. Just the fact that he's throwing is absolutely unreal.  Remember that?  Detached Latissimus muscle?  Ouch.  

I was looking through my baseball stuff over the last week and on my Jake Peavy shelf (yep, whole shelf and it's spilling over) is the ball he signed for me (courtesy of Teri and Jenn) wishing me well.  Just seeing that again keeps you full of hope.

The hope is that when I start throwing next week, it all feels ok.  Yes, it'll probably be a tennis ball and it'll probably be about 15 feet, but it'll be throwing.  It'll be a big step and a huge early birthday present if I can throw without pain.  I worry about it a little bit.  I think you have to.  Resuming the activity that got you injured in the first place.  Even slowly?  How do runners feel running again after getting stress fractures? Do you take it easy? Do you wonder if every little pain is something to be worried about.

I don't know yet.  I get my marching orders on Wednesday the 3rd. Ken says it's easy to follow and should get me back on a mound in March.  

The last few weeks, I've focused my workouts away from that elbow.  I've done things like chest flies, shoulder raises, legwork, etc.  Anything I can do to stay away from that joint.  It seems to work and it seems to get the job done in a relatively decent manner.  Katy thinks I'm doing the Plyo tosses stronger and that my arms are looking like they used to before my injury. My elbow has been sore but at my new job, I have a right handed mouse so I've already requested to get my lefty back.  I think that's a big thing.  Switching to that left handed mouse is a good idea.  

Jake has a 3.40 ERA this year and, at some point, took a first step in throwing.  Mine is next week.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Progression

Quick Friday night post:

Hi everyone,

My throwing program starts on October 3rd. It's apparently pretty regimented and easy so I anticipate a lot of evenings in my garage throwing balls at a wall.

No obvious jokes please.

Nonetheless I honestly feel fantastic. The elbow has been sore a bit this week but I think it's getting used to a right handed mouse again.  I've given up my lefty since I got canned from PopCap.  Oh, did you know that? I got canned from PopCap but promptly found an awesome job at WildTangent. I'm having a great time.

Anyway, it's been sore a bit, but I've altered my gym routine every morning to get the most out of it.  I've avoided elbow movement and have concentrated on shoulders,  back, core, and legs to burn the calories. I've also taken up tabata training (google it) for my cardio.  It's working like a charm.  So, despite my happy hour habit during my brief unemployment, I've taken off all of that weight and amd strengthening everything around the elbow again.

I go see Ken again on the 3rd.  He's amazing folks.  Really.  If you get a chance, just Google Ken Roll.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Onward!

A lot has happened in the last few weeks which has kept me from updating this blog.  Once I can talk a little bit more about it I will.

Let me just say that overall, people are fantastic. I really have a lot to be thankful for and let it go at that for now.

My recovery has taken a big step forward.  I'm back to lifting some weight on it and even managed a few assisted pullups yesterday.  I think this is a pretty big corner that I've turned.  For some reason, everything feels stronger and hurts less.  What actually hurts is the muscle surrounding the ligament.  I haven't felt ligament pain in a while.

Now, I'm not saying I'm going to run out and start bench pressing 250 again, but I am getting more and more comfortable with the idea that I'll be able too soon.  I'll give it another test tomorrow with a bunch of yard work, but I really feel strong and able.

You want a little secret.  I threw a few rocks for the dogs at the beach last weekend.  I also threw two apples at the uber-annoying blue jays that seem to love our tree.  I missed, but it had a little gas behind it.  I didn't hurt afterwards either.

Ryan Alvis, my TJ brother and I met up at a recent Indians game and shared a few stories. He's really been a big help even though he doesn't realize it.  He even confessed that he threw a football....and it felt ok.  If we get on the same team next year...people better look out.  It will be absolutely frightening.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Hiatus

Hi all,

I'm going on hiatus for a little bit. There's not much new to report and frankly, August is going to be a brutal month.

I'll resume the blog posting in mid-September when I get to start throwing a tennis ball. That should be awfully interesting.

Until then, catch me at PAX speaking in the Unicorn Room at 8pm on Friday August 31st.  The presentation should really be a bunch of fun and it's going to be the culmination of a pet project of mine.




Monday, July 23, 2012

Good days and bad days

This is the latter unfortunately.  

This is one of those days where you can really feel the ligament move around and it actually hurts.  It's not just sore or inflamed, it flat out hurts.  

You never know what you did to make it hurt either. Was it a bad lift at the gym? Was it weeding yesterday?  Was it something simple like moving the seats back in the car?  

Who knows?  All I know is that it hurts today.  So, it's going to be an "ice twice" day.  Once now...while it's hurting, and once again after I run through my PT routine this afternoon.

Long road.  It feels like it just gets longer and longer.  I have to remember though that I can do a LOT more now than I could in the beginning.  It's actually pretty amazing.  I'm doing shoulder exercises with 5 pounds now instead of 2.  Just a lot of different and interesting things that you realize you can now do.  That's probably important to keep in mind as you recover.  You need to have your little mileposts as you go and be sure to recognize each time you pass a milepost. 

It's easier to say than do, but it's important.  

Friday, July 13, 2012

Been a while

It's been a bit since I've posted and I sincerely apologize. There frankly hasn't been a lot to say lately.

My rehab is progressing.  There are a lot of days where it's frustrating that I have to spend so much time on it. Just last weekend I was going through my normal workout on a Saturday when it came time to go and I was only halfway through my bouncy ball work.  Katy was good enough to let me finish and STILL help me do my tosses with the plyoball.

She's had to get used to that.  The workout is that I stand facing away from her with the plyoball (2lbs) in my right hand.  I have my elbow forward and palm down.  I then have to flip the ball back to Katy who catches it and hands it back. We do a series of these (2 sets/20 per) which includes me being prone and flipping it back as well as Katy tossing it over my shoulder while I'm on a knee.  I then have to catch it and complete the throwing motion backwards back to her.

Well, her patience is great though I've thrown it a bit hard a few times and have nailed her right in the chest.  She has stuck with it though.

The site is still tender every day but I feel like the numb spot has only gotten smaller.  It seems that the scar tissue is starting to break up around there.  I've also been more diligent with icing right after my PT.

It could be a while before I'm back throwing.  The surgeon said 3 months from my last checkup which puts me in mid-September.  That's not much fun.  I'm not sure how much more I can do in the next couple of months that is so vastly different from what I have been doing.

It keeps feeling like I'm hitting walls and I want to keep moving forward.  It's frustrating more than not. The biggest thing is that the work is getting easier and easier. Even in my gym workouts I've started putting 3 pounds in my right hand for most exercises.  So, that's something I guess.  The PT work is definitely making me stronger.  That's a plus as well.

They said this would be a long road and I'm only 3 and a half months in.  It feels much longer than that.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wax on....

Whoa boy have I been busy!

I've learned a few more new workouts from Ken.  The latest is a series with the giant yoga balls.

Pick up the ball and put it on a wall with your hand holding it in place.  Give a little bit of a lean into the ball just so there's some pressure on it.

Now, you do the Mr. Miyagi routine:  Wax on (rotate left 20 times) Wax off (rotate right 20 times).  Then you paint the fence (move side-side and up-down 20 times). I think the one thing he didn't do was move diagonally, but here you do. Diagonally right and left 20 times each.

Did I mention you do this all facing directly toward the ball and then repeat standing to the side of the ball? Oh, and do both arms.

This will absolutely make you stronger.  I've seen the results in the gym many times already and am becoming a very firm believer in these small muscle exercises.  They support the bigger muscles which I can easily hit in the gym.

Speaking of the gym, I started lifting again with my right arm. I did dumbbell bench presses with a whole two pounds in my right hand.  That's right folks...be wary of my might.

One other quick thing: Sounds like Jamie Moyer is with the Blue Jays farm system and should pitch against the Rainers on Thursday.  If you are in Tacoma, get there!


Friday, June 22, 2012

Doctor's Update

I saw the doctor again yesterday for what should be my final follow up.  They measured a few things including the angles that my elbow can bend at (0, 140 for those keeping score), grip strength, and the side to side movement of my elbow.

The diagnosis was that I was ahead of schedule for everything.  Grip strength surprised both of them which I'm attributing to squeezing those dumb towel rolls 60 times a day.  The elbow is tight and healing and the muscle tone and everything looked fine.

My pain has gone down quite a bit and it's more muscle soreness now. If I do get pain, it's right at the site of the incision.  If you feel it, it's still slightly swollen as there's probably a ton of scar tissue that has build up there.  Pressing on the ligament itself is also known to be sore, but most of the time it's just oddly numb.  It's a bit hard to describe....but numb.

PT is going extremely well.  I have a new series of shoulder work that I need to work in twice a week now.  The best news of all is that I get to rest on the 7th day.  No more 7 days a week of PT!  I get a day off now.  Oh, thank merciful heavens.  Man, it's tough to hit the gym and still do another hour every single day of the weeks.

So, as it was intended...on the 7th day I will rest. Ahhhhhhh......

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Keeping your arm dry in the shower: PRO TIP!

My friend Adam Paulson found this awesome product that is designed to keep your arm dry while you're in the shower.  Unfortunately, Adam is getting surgery on his fractured wrist tomorrow so this has quickly become a necessity in his life.  Be well buddy!

One of the toughest things to do is keep your arm dry in the shower. Trust me, trying to tie up Safeway bags around your arm isn't exactly a great time...especially when doing it with one hand. Luckily, I had some help.

So, sure, this is costs a little more than a couple of plastic bags from Safeway, but it would be worth it. Trust me. If you have TJ surgery, or any arm related surgery, this thing will be an absolute lifesaver.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Padres

The blog will be dull this week.  I am heading out to all 3 Padres games at Safeco field.

Besides Spring Training, this is as good as it gets for me.  My Padres against my second favorite team the Mariners.  Now, let's be really clear.  These will not be monstrous games.  These two teams are bad.  Actually terrible.

Neither team can really hit and the defense is suspect.  Maybe there will be some pitching with Felix and Edinson throwing a few of the nights.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter. I love these teams. I grew up bleeding Padres blues/sand/tan/grey and formerly mustard yellow/brown.  I've grown to love the Mariners as my second team.  I remember the Garvey home run and the call of "the double". I cheered for Trevor when he set the saves record and Ichiro when he set the single season hits record. I heard the gloves pop when Jake Peavy and Randy Johnson pitched. I remember the Kingdome and the Murph.  

This is bad baseball but it's my favorite brand of bad baseball.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Workouts

It's so strange to sit down and look over my old workouts and have to re-imagine them to fit into a routine that you've done a bunch of times.

This week, it's the heavy/light routine that I like to do.  However, instead of doing lots of things with barbells, it's all about the dumbbells.  The dumbbells have been a lifesaver and have let me continue my workouts without much interruption.

I actually think that I'm starting to put up more weight with my left arm than I did with my right.  It's interesting though...even though I'm not doing anything beyond my PT with my right arm, it still feels like it's activating in some way. It's definitely not keeping up in terms of size.  If you looked at me now, you'd swear I was left handed.  I'm pretty confident that the right side will catch up eventually.

You do have to be willing to eat a bit of crow at the gym when you're doing one-handed stuff.  I mean, I have to look like a goofball dumbbell pressing 60 pounds with one arm and zero in the other.  Just to keep things moving, I usually do the movement with the right arm. So, weight in one hand....literally nothing in the other.

I've also been working hard on my speed.  Since it's tougher to really do a lot of strength training, I've been doing a bunch of interval training.  That seems to help quite a bit in the calorie burning area as well as the "feel better" area.  It just feels good to do.  My typical interval is a 20-30 second sprint interval every 90-120 seconds.  If you're a treadmill nerd, I do a light jog on the treadmill at a 6.0 and a 1.5 incline.  My sprint is the 12.0 speed.  Obviously, there are good and bad days when it comes to this stuff, but I've been lucky so far.

The arm is definitely healing.  I've been able to pick up and curl 3 pounds now and the PT exercises are getting significantly easier.  It seems like some of the aches have gone away too.  I'm not constantly feeling that pull anymore in my elbow.  It feels easier.  I really do believe that weight training, even on one side, still makes a very big difference on both.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Random thoughts on a Friday

Happy Friday to you and yours:

Glad to hear Jamie Moyer got picked up.  He signed a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles.  Who knows if he'll pitch in the majors again, but I'm pretty sure everyone in Seattle is pulling for him.  San Diego is pulling for Cory Luebke who has opted to become part of the fraternity.  Nice kid with great stuff.  He'll come back just great.  Daisuke makes his first start since joining the frat this weekend.  I doubt a new ligament will make him walk fewer people or work any faster.

PT is going well.  Shoulder work has been upped a pound.  I'm also up to 3 sets for that as well.  It's tougher than you think.  That's typically the one that makes me really work.

My arm feels pretty good. I still can't lift any real weight or anything.  3 pounds is about it if my arm has to bend at all.  I am able to turn a doorknob painlessly now. Opening some jars is still difficult, but so many things that used to give me trouble no longer do so that's progress.  The biggest problem now is that my elbow will often tighten up after typing for a while or shampooing my hair.  That's always entertaining....adding stretching out to drying off as a post-shower activity.

I've learned that quick motions are not your friend.  I never thought it would hurt to swat a fly, but it did. Add that to the list of things you shouldn't do after surgery.

On a really personal note, I'd like to say goodbye to my dear friend Missy. She stood by me for 14 years as a constant companion and supported me in everything I did.  I already miss her terribly and there is a big void in our household now.




Saturday, June 2, 2012

My PT schedule

A lot of people have been asking me how much physical therapy I'm doing every day.  So, I thought I'd stop giving the stock answer and show you what exactly I do every single day.

I should add that this changes all of the time so I'll be better about keeping things updated.  In fact, I need to keep this blog updated better.  That whole work thing is getting in the way though.  Bah, who needs to make a living anyway?

So, PT takes me about an hour every day.  Most of my exercises are 3 sets at 20 reps.

Here's the first set of things I do every day:

What this is showing you is a series of tubing exercises.  Basically the typed portion describes a bunch of exercises I do while seated.  I keep the tubing stepped on and use my quads for support.  It's essentially using my wrists to lift the tubing up while my palms are up, down and thumbs up.  Then the wrists go side to side.

The handwritten portion is a single arm tubing exercises that I do with the tubing wrapping around a pulley tower or, if I'm at home, secured on the outside doorknob with the door shut.  These are all wrist movements with my wrist at my side going left to right then right to left, at my hip (palm up and down) and then in the throwing position facing the tubing and away from the tubing.  Though I don't have to, I do these on both sides just to keep things even.

Again, 3 sets of 20 reps for each hand position.


Here come the shoulders!  These are TOUGH things to do.  I usually break these up into 2 categories: Those which require the tubing to go in the door and those that I can stand on.  You can see the two different types of shoulder raises going on there.  One is at 45 degrees and the other is just a front lateral raise.  Doing these back to back is rough going.

I think these are really important though.  I like to think I'm working my way up the arm with the exercises I'm doing.  I started with the wrist, went to the forearm, and have finally made it to the shoulder. Eventually, I'll be able to put them all together and start throwing (which should be in about 2 more months).

I do these sets every other day.  I combine them with the ones below.



These are basic shoulder movements that are done in the gym a lot.  These tend to work the rear deltoids and the traps.  These are the ones that will keep my shoulders back.

These are the latest ones.  These are done every other day.  They're rotated in with the two sets laid out above.  These are CURRENTLY one set for 20 reps.  This will go up to 2 sets on Sunday and the weight will go from 2 pounds to 3 pounds in a week.  I'm going to be doing these at the gym usually but when you're at home you have to make a few....concessions.....

For example, I don't have a two pound weight at home.  I do...have a Costco membership which allows me to buy something that's two pounds...



...and then I do the exercises with my arm hanging off my bed.  These are done on both arms.  It's fair trade coffee so it's ok!

So, that's about it.  I also do my hammer workouts as you've seen before on both hands as well as towel squeezes.

Adding it up it's a lot of reps.  In fact, it's about 45 different exercises in various positions.  Then it's about 3 sets of each of those and 20 reps on each.  And that my friends, is why it takes an hour to knock it all out.  So, 135 sets total.  Every day.





Monday, May 28, 2012

Small Setback

I took yesterday off from physical therapy. My forearm near the incision feels inflamed and sore so I decided to give it a day off yesterday.   I am guessing that I had my tubing too taut when I was doing my exercises and that put too much pressure on the muscle. It's tough to determine what the right amount of exertion really is. You feel like a pansy when you're not pushing yourself with these things. All of those years in the gym taught me to push as hard as you can.  I've never had to recover from an injury like this. I am just trying to do what I think is best. I'll talk to Ken about it on Wednesday. I'll post my PT regimen this week. It's pretty extensive. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Thanks Ken


PopCap is changing insurance providers since we're part of EA now. 

Unfortunately, Ken and Mar Ran physical therapy are not "in network".  The way our new insurance operates is to provide a network of care givers that will be fully covered by the insurance. Unfortunately, if you are not a part of that network then the insurance will cover at a much lower rate than if you are "in network". 

I'm not really sure what it takes to get into the network. I would assume that you have to be high enough on someone's social graph to even be considered. Maybe you have to tag them in pictures enough times or comment on their status updates.  Maybe it's just a part of the request system?  

At any rate, they aren't in network so now I really get to pay for it. 

Ken knew this. I was warming up on the hand bike as I usually do.  Ken came over and told me that my new insurance is out of network.  I told him I had realized that but that intended to stay put because I believe in what he's got me doing and I believe in the results. 

He said he appreciated that and agreed. He then said he's going to lower his rates to make it more comfortable for me to stay there. 

I had already bit the bullet and decided not to change to an "in network"provider. Ken didn't have to lower his rate. He did it because he thought it was the right thing to do for me. He didn't think I would benefit by changing therapists. He certainly has plenty of clients and probably doesn't need me to stick around. He wanted me to stick around. He wants to help me heal. 

It's a very personal connection when someone is helping you heal. I didn't particularly want to change that. I am getting healed with his help. I'm going to pitch again with his help. 

I wrote this to remind everyone that there are caregivers out there that are still bound by the desire to make people better no matter the cost to them. So thanks Ken. I really appreciate it...even if others think you are "out of network".

Thursday, May 17, 2012

PSSBL Mariners Win!

I went to our PSSBL Mariner game the other night. It was a gorgeous night and we were playing a new team in the league at the best field in the circuit.  I mostly leaned on the rail, spat sunflower seeds, and observed.

I try not to critique our guys much but it's hard when you see the game from this perspective. You see your pitcher not following through. You see when a runner is going to take off. You see the defense get on their heels because the pitcher takes too long. You notice a strong hitter swing at a bad pitch.  You work with the catcher to go over the next few hitters.

It's a strange thing to see a game from this perspective. It's somehow different when you know you're not playing. You get to take more in and think about things more. It's still interesting though and it's always fun to watch. It's still baseball and watching your team destroy the other team is always a blast. 

Wish I could say the same for the MLB Mariners. Yikes guys...get it together. 

I hope I remember all of these lessons next year. I need to remember when to change my pace.  I need to learn when someone is getting a monster lead on me. I really need to work on my pick off move.  Oh, I also had a lefty throwing session with my patient and daring fiancé.  There were some good and some bad. I developed a rhythm after a while but  nothing that is going to be game ready. My goal is to be able to warm someone up before they pitch or just toss in general before a game.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

$$$

I searched all over the place for how much this surgery was going to cost me and I couldn't find one little slice of information about anything related to cost. 

You would think that there would be some disclosure about cost somewhere along the way. I mean, it's all a second thought almost. Nobody says to you "Here's the estimated cost after insurance" or even "Here is what our doctor is going to charge."  Nope. Not one word about what your bill would be. 

By the way, doesn't that strike you as odd?  

My cat has been sick lately.  She's actually dying of renal failure. Every test that gets done and every medication that is prescribed has a cost associated with it. You know that cost up front. In fact, they will actually give you a written estimate of your visit before you enter the exam room. All of that effort for a cat. 

Meanwhile, we go into a specialist's office hoping that the cost isn't crazy for a procedure like this.  You even have to guess at the cost of the diagnostic tools and the diagnosis itself.  What does an MRI cost? How about a blood panel? Fluoroscan? What about that brace? 

You have no idea. You just kind of hope that it's not going to bury you.  Our fast food "restaurants" have posted menus and costs. A car mechanic, by law, must give you a written estimate before any work is done.  But our health care? Nah.

I'll get off of my soapbox for now but I do reserve the right to climb back on at any given point during this blog. 

Here's what my Tommy John surgery cost for the day-of procedure. This doesn't include PT, follow ups, etc. Ready?

For the Facility Fee it was $7747.00.  That's just for Overlake to host me for the day. 
The anesthesia was $1900. 
Dr. Trumble's fee was $4325.00
The Physician Assistant cost $1081.25
That's a grand total of $15,053.25

My portion of that is significantly less. Big thumbs up to Premera!
Overlake: $340.81
Anesthesia: $128.02
Dr. Trumble: $164.00
Dennis the PA: $16.40
My portion adds up to only be $649.23

Comparing the two numbers, that's an absolutely screaming deal. That doesn't count the co-pays of each visit and PT as well as MRI costs and such. Those continue to add up every week.  My final figure also takes into account the fee adjustments made by each provider for the insurance. 

All in all, I think I got off easy. I feel very lucky to have this insurance. Had it been crappy insurance or none at all, my baseball career would be over. So thanks Premera. I owe you one. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Goodbye friend


It has been fun old friend. For six weeks, you and I were almost inseparable. You prevented me from putting on sweatshirts but gave me a great excuse to wear baseball jerseys. You pointed out to the world that I had some sort of injury and made people pay when they bumped into my arm. 

You inspired people to come up with Iron Man costume ideas.  You let people think about what kind of sound effects machine could be attached. You let people reminisce about the days of the six million dollar man. 

You got people thinking about how hard I am going to throw eventually.  You intimated all kinds of friends including my fiancé and my dog. 

You added extra weight to my arm and would lock randomly in strange positions. You let me sleep in strange positions. You always got a kick out of tangling up my iPod cord. 

I'll miss the stares I got everywhere I went because of you and I'll especially miss the random comments that strangers would make to me. 

Good luck buddy. Thanks for your help


Monday, May 7, 2012

Random Notes for a Monday

Here it is, a beautiful Monday in Seattle.  It's due to be about 70 degrees here today.  I'm wearing my favorite jersey today and feel pretty good. What's my favorite jersey? It's a teal Dustin Ackley jersey that's signed.  It's really awesome.  I even put the Dave Niehaus patch on the other sleeve.  Here's a picture of Adam and I in our matching teal hotness.


So onto the random notes:

My left handed training is coming well. After running stairs at Lake Washington High School, I started throwing the "pinky" against the concrete wall of the press box. I threw for about 7 minutes and did ok.  I did better at the gym this morning and had more accuracy.  Looks like my left arm slots differently than my right.  It's much more over the top instead of 3/4 like my right arm.  Odd, but I'll take it.
I'll throw again on Thursday.

This week in gym training:  It's cable week!  This morning was chest and back.  Lots of lying presses, single arm bent over rows, cable flyes, etc. Cables are great because of the constant resistance.  You don't even need a bunch of weight.  It feels like it's harder on the muscles and easier on the joints right now.  If there's any interest, I'll talk about my workouts.  They're almost all supersets.

One thing I did start doing is doing cardio at the beginning AND as the second to last thing I do.  I really don't have an idea as to why I do that, but it seems to be better to keep my heart rate up a bit before I do some core work to cool down.  I don't know if it works, but we'll find out.  I feel like I'm doing ok, but that could have something to do with knocking the beer consumption down a bit.

Yes, I'm replacing it with whiskey.

The brace comes off on Wednesday.  More on that on Wednesday.  It'll be a relief.

The arm has been sore a bit this week.  I'm thinking it's due to the tougher PT schedule.  It might just be the incision being goofy.



Friday, May 4, 2012

Crafty lefty?

I've been tossing around (pardon the pun) the idea of learning to throw with my left hand. I decided to start practicing with a weighted ball at the gym. Just light tossing trying to hit the same spot over and over again.  Nothing crazy big, just 7-10 tosses at a spot on the wall with one of those mushy balls that won't bounce.

It's going well so far. I've been able to successfully hit the same spot repeatedly and have repeatable mechanics.  There have even been a few times that there has been some velocity behind it.

I doubt I'll ever pitch left handed, but I thought it would be good to give this a shot while I have the time and the will to do it.  Apparently Yu Darvish routinely throws left handed on his off days.  He feels that it keeps his body balanced and that it keeps him sharper with his right arm. Rumor has it, he throws harder than Moyer as a lefty.

I really have no idea why I'm doing this.  I think it's probably to compensate for my lack of ability to throw with the right arm.  That's gotta be why this is so interesting to me. Maybe it'll pay off. I have this idea that I can get onto first base with a lefty's mitt and be able to cut someone down at home plate.  Why not?

It seems to be keeping me out of trouble so far.

Other Notes:


My arm has consistently reached full range extension at  0 degrees extended and 140 degrees flexed.  That was twice this week, so I'm hoping that this range is here to stay.

PT is getting much more difficult.  I've graduated up to the "red band" now which is much more difficult than the "yellow band".  I feel like I'm in karate.



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hammer time!

Seriously, nobody screws with a guy that trains with a hammer.  The idea behind the exercise is to have an uneven weight distribution. That way you have to have control in both the acceleration and deceleration phase of the exercises.  The exercise is as follows: 1. Grab the hammer in your hand so that the head of the hammer is facing left and your knuckles are up 2. Rotate your wrist so the head of the hammer goes from the left to the right.  3. Repeat twenty times and stay in control.  4. When you are done with that, rotate your grip on the hammer and make the hammer face you in such a way that it looks like you might hammer your elbow.  5. Using only your wrist, swing the hammer back so the head comes near your elbow. Do this twenty times.  6.  Turn the hammer the opposite way and repeat....twenty times....both arms.  You probably won't actually look like Thor after this but you'll feel like you've been in a fight with him. This stuff really works. I was sore this morning. 

Monday, April 30, 2012


Our first game as the Sierra Mariners of the PSSBL was on Saturday afternoon.  Unfortunately, we came out on the short end of that one.  Much like the real Mariners, we got buried in one inning and could never quite crawl out of the hole. 

What was great was that my teammmates absolutely embraced me being there. I thought there would be some weirdness around me just kinda hanging out but there was none of that at all.  There were lots of pats on the back and words of encouragement the entire time. 

I did everything I could to just go about my routine as usual. I had my rubber tubing out to stretch my legs out.  I did my wind sprints. I stuffed myself full of Big League Chew.  When the team was doing. batting practice with whiffle balls, I was out there chasing them down and making one handed grabs. When the team took infield, I caught for the person hitting grounders. 

Best of all was just being out there with the team. It felt great to wear the cleats and to get the glove out of hibernation. It felt great to just yap about baseball with my teammates and to analyze the opposing pitcher. It was fun to see the umpires miss calls and bitch about the on the bench.  We're never wrong by the way. 

It was just flat out fun. Sure, there was a big part of me that wanted to pitch, but I have come to terms with that. I realized that what I really wanted to do was contribute and I felt I did that. Sure, I'd prefer to contribute with some scoreless innings, but I can't. Hell, I couldn't even grip a baseball until last week.  

It's better to be a part of something in the best way that you can rather than just forget it because you can't be part of it in the way that you want. It would be easier just to not worry about it and stay home every game but I won't do that. Even if I'm just shagging balls or keeping score, I am still contributing. And I am happy to contribute however I can

*side note*  I just heard George Sherrill is going to be joining the TJ fraternity.  I think this is the only frat in the world where I hate seeing new members coming in.  Good luck George!


Friday, April 27, 2012

Today I thought I would fire off a list of things that I can do and a list of things I still can't do.  All of the things that I can do are things that I couldn't do even two weeks ago.

 Now, I can:
Write relatively well.
Type with two hands
 Wear T-shirts instead of just baseball jerseys.
Raise and lower a cable on the weight tower at the gym
Open a can of tuna
Carry a cup of coffee
Go a day without taking an Aleve
Put on socks
Drive

 Unfortunately I still can't:
Wash my hair or face with both hands.
Sleep on my right side
Wear a long sleeve shirt
Turn doorknobs very well
Pick up more than a cup of coffee

I think this has been a pretty good amount of progress. For just a few weeks out, I am still noticing small things that are easier every day. It's great to be able to see a challenge and then overcome it. Makes me feel like I am accomplishing something. It makes that year seem shorter.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

One Month Later.....

Among many other things going on today, I had a follow up with Dr. Trumble to see exactly how this little project is going.  

It was nice to be able to make it into the gym before-hand just to get a little activity into my body before I showed the professionals just how well I thought this was going.  

I thought the first thing they would look at would be the scar to make sure it was healing okay, but it was actually all based on mobility, strength, flexibility and other things.  The first thing they did was take a look at the actual bone to make sure that nothing was thin or strange around the tunnel (remember, the figure 8).  They did that through a machine I've referenced before called the fluoroscan.  This time, I managed to get a picture of this thing.



They did a minor stress test to make sure that the little gap that was there before no longer existed.  Remember when that ligament was torn, every time I moved my arm side to side, there would be a variable gap that occurred in the joint. So, under the fluoroscan they moved my elbow back and forth a bit to make sure there were no gaps in there.  Of course there weren't which was awesome.  That means that the surgery really was successful in completing its most basic job. See below...


See the little tunnel up there on the right? That's where the figure 8 is to hold this sucker in place.  You can also see how tight the joint is now too.  That gap used to be up to twice that big...occasionally more. 

They followed that up with some very basic stuff in my forearm to make sure everything was interacting properly between the elbow and the hand. They followed that up with a lot of strength tests to see how my muscles were holding up. I had to spread my fingers against resistance, move my wrist up and down with resistance, and then various grip tests.  

They were more than pleased with the results. I go back in six weeks to re-assess. Any time your surgeon grins ear to ear and doesn't talk in a condescending tone, you're probably ok.

Unfortunately, I am stuck in this brace for another two weeks. Oh well. There are worse things than that. It is awfully frustrating though.  I mean, it's impossible to wear long sleeve shirts and sweatshirts with this dopey thing on.  Plus, the Iron Man jokes will only get worse when the Avengers movie shows up.

Back to PT in the morning where I get to learn some resistance band training! 

Oh, one last picture.  Remember when I said this guy wrote the book on these surgeries?  Here's proof!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It has been a month!!!

Witness the magical month of recovery!

Perfect

Saturday, I got to witness the 21st perfect game in Major League Baseball history.  It was tossed by Philip Humber of the White Sox...a member of the fraternity.  He had the surgery in 2005.

His road to the majors was pretty spotty and full of potholes bouncing around in minor league camps of the Mets and Twins before finally landing with the White Sox. The White Sox called him up for a spot start when Peavy couldn't go and he's been hanging around ever since.  Even though Humber's story is at a high point now, there were concerns about him losing velocity after his surgery.  It looks like that may not come back and that he has figured out how to use his secondary pitches more effectively. The slider was looking like it was working amazingly well.

 I can't really be sure about throwing a slider after this surgery. That pitch requires a lot of torque on your arm.  I tend to throw to it with the elbow really far forward and snap it pretty hard. I have been wondering if I should go back to it honestly. Right now, my thought is that I won't throw it again. It's a great pitch for me as I am able to completely vary most aspects of it. I can change the velocity, tilt, break and location at whim usually.  At any rate, seeing a perfect game was amazing. Seeing Humber throw one post-surgery is really encouraging.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Succeeding because of fitness and an update.

I was talking to Ken Roll, my physical therapist yesterday about Jamie Moyer.  Ken said that one of the reasons that Jamie is able to bounce back and endure is because of all of the hard work he does as far as conditioning and preparation go. It's well known here in Seattle that Jamie relentlessly works to keep himself in great shape. I remember so many of those stories being told when he was up here pitching....at the ripe old age of 41.  

I don't think that it's a coincidence that he has recovered completely from Tommy John at age 49 and that he has a such a strong fitness regimen.  I just can't believe that fitness is irrelevant when it comes to recovering from surgery or other trauma. 

The question is why.  Is it because of your mental mind set? Is it because your body is naturally used to recovering?  Is it because you have less body fat or more muscle?  We probably won't ever know but it is a pretty interesting question. Moyer is definitely lending some evidence that fitness greatly aids in recovery.  

On another note, my arm fully extends outward now (zero point zero degrees). It's also bending up at 138 degrees. My fellow TJ fraternity brother, Ryan Alvis, says that it's getting tougher as it goes along. He's ahead of me by about 3 months so his previews have been great. He was quite helpful and encouraging (and honest) when I talked to him just before surgery so I am sure he's right. 

For now, I am enjoying the successes.  I like to think I am ready for the challenges. 

Just like Jamie.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Well, if HE can do it....

It's a nice night in the Northwest where I am watching the Mariners show signs of having an offense. 

I watched Jake Peavy throw another amazing ballgame tonight.  He's one of my heroes and someone, as I have mentioned before, that I look to for inspiration as I recover.  Though he didn't have my surgery, he did tear his latissimus muscle nearly off and made it back fom that.  That's a worth a lot of respect in my book.  

So, on to Jamie Moyer.  Forget about the "oldest guy to win a game" stuff for a second.  Think more about 49 year old guy coming back from major surgery who pitched his way onto a major league team and continues to keep his spot by having outings like last night: Throwing a strong 7 innings...even though it was against my Padres.

I started watching Jamie when he pitched here in Seattle and admired how he continued to get batters out despite having lower velocity. He was really using that natural movement and making smart decisions on the mound. He became one of my favorites after a while. I continued to follow him when he left for Philadelphia and eventually the MLB network which is where I thought he would settle in once the UCL news came down. 

He swore he would come back and pitch after Tommy John.  He knew he could do it.  He told everyone he was doing it.  I'm pretty sure everyone nodded with a smarmy "Yeah, right".

But here he is back on the mound and beating my Padres. He's 49. He doesn't hit hit 80mph on the radar gun.  He is coming back from Tommy John surgery.  Think about all of those factors for a second. Any one of those could (and in some cases should) preclude you from pitching in the majors.  

But there's Jamie...winning ballgames.  

I hope to meet him one of these days and let him know that he's one of my heroes. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Brothers in Surgery

This weekend I went to the Mariners game with my buddy Adam.  He's pretty generous with his season tickets and I definitely appreciate it.  It's nice to be able to watch some baseball especially when I can't play it. 

We always start by hitting the 'Pen.  The 'Pen is Safeco Field's best kept secret.  It's an area behind left centerfield that has a string of eateries and drinkeries. Grab yourself a burrito, a giant slice of pizza, or even a Crepe' and set your beer on the rail right behind the left centerfield fence. It even has a little "lounge" section where you can relax on couches next to a fireplace.  Sometimes, it's a handy thing when Seattle is being Seattle.  When it's sunny, grab a beer and head to the patio where you can enjoy this view:


One of Adam's friends eventually met us down at the railing there.  He was a young guy that had pitched at UW and was a pretty good pitching prospect.  During his freshman year he tore his UCL and had to recover in the dorms.  He even told a story of his arm sliding off of the bed about 3 days removed from surgery and he was in such pain that it brought him to tears.  

I get that. I'm probably one of the few that does.

He also said he never fully recovered from the surgery. He got back to 80% in less than a year but never got that last 20% or so that really makes a pitcher complete.  He gave it up after that as UW didn't want to pay for a second surgery and he didn't want to go through it all again. Can't say I blame him there either.  

When you meet someone else who has had this done, there is definitely a camaraderie that immediately presents itself. You're now a member of a very small club.  A member that understands what others in the club have been through.  You can talk to each other in real terms instead of trying to explain everything hypothetically and hoping to use a good analogy so that they understand.

No, when you meet a brother in surgery, you can just say it like it is and they get it. I'm looking forward to meeting more people in our little fraternity.   

Friday, April 13, 2012

Few Quick Hits

It has been 3 weeks since surgery and everything seems to be healing nicely. 

I have taken to wearing those basketball shooter sleeves under the brace. That way, I can sweat under the brace without having to offend my office neighbors every morning. I just pull the sleeve, wash it, and put the other one on.  

I have two sleeves. One is my dressy black sleeve.  It's used for nights on the town and blends in well under the brace.  The other is a very nice blue that I think looks best under a Mariner or blue Padres jersey. They are pretty comfortable.

I have confirmed that I can lift a half pint of weight now.  

I ended up dropping about 5 pounds.  Unfortunately it's probably a lot of muscle weight.  Lots of thanks to Katy for not letting my ice cream consumption go nuts.  

It's a beautiful day here in Seattle. Going to be a great weekend for baseball!  I'm ready to go see my teammates tonight in Bellevue.  It has been way too long.  Usually, I've already thrown and hit quite a bit.  Not practicing has left a little void in my life

That's the scar at 3 weeks.  It's really healing well.

This is my pillow setup at work.  I use one pillow when I'm working and two when I'm doing my physical therapy.  I took this right before my noonish PT session.


This is the ultra-sexy blue sleeve flanked by the ever-popular Erik Bedard Mariners jersey.  I think they go well together.  

I believe Sunday I'll be wearing my Bucky Jacobsen jersey with the blue sleeve to accent it.  I'm guessing the compliments will flow.

Just sayin'.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Q&A

I have been getting a few questions sent my way as a result of this blog.  It's been fun to see what people are wondering.  I'm always happy to answer questions and you should feel free to submit them.  You can reach me via email at evillemon@gmail.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter via @tyjroberts.

Did you throw up when you saw the surgery pictures?

No, but I couldn't look at them for a few days. I think it was Sunday that I finally looked. Now it doesn't bother me.  I think the dry skin thing is almost more gross.  

What was the first thing you did after surgery?  

I ate an Otter Pop.  Then another one. Then Katy showed up and gave me a protein bar.  Basically I ate.  The first real thing I did was go see The Hunger Games on that Sunday. Saturday was mostly worthless but I was going stir crazy by Sunday.  

Do you miss baseball? 

It hasn't sunk in yet, but it's starting to. My team is starting to have practices. The schedule is coming out.  There's a scrimmage coming up.  I will definitely miss it but I am going to do my best to get out to the games and support the team. I am planning on making up for it by going to more Mariner games. In fact my buddy Adam is giving me his spare ticket for Sunday's game. 

Plus, I just keep telling myself I am going to come back stronger. That's what keeps me going.  It sounds dumb but seeing myself back on the mound next year is really keeping me motivated.

It seems like this hasn't been very tough....true?

Mostly true. It's definitely been easier than I thought. The surgery wasn't bad at all.  The recovery has been more frustrating than difficult. The physical therapy has been pretty easy so far.  There hasn't been a bunch of pain or anything. 

The hardest part is opening yourself up to being vulnerable. You have to understand and remember that  you are recovering and that you aren't 100% healthy.  If you have a partner you have to remember that they are doing their best to help you. You have to let yourself be vulnerable and open to accepting the help that your partner is trying to give you. 

That part doesn't seem like its hard does it?  It is. Imagine having to ask your fiancé to open a jar of pickles or having them wait while you shower because you can't reach around to dry yourself off.  Accepting that you are not able to do certain things is really difficult. The quicker you get over yourself, the better off you and your better half will be.  That may even be a life lesson there kids. 

That's it for the questions.  Thanks for the submissions and for all of the support.  I really appreciate everyone being so awesome.