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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.