Follow by Email

Monday, June 24, 2013

Journey Complete

Hi everyone,

I think I'm calling this.

Sunday was a great night. We had a late game against the 2012 champions whom we had never beaten.  I got the start.

My line was simple:  4IP, 3H, 3R, 1ER, ?Ks ( I don't remember), Too many walks.

Our offense gave the defense a lead and we never lost it.  We never lost our confidence either. We had that game from the top of the 1st onward.  We weren't going to lose.  I don't think anyone in the dugout thought we were going to lose.  In fact, everyone KNEW we were going to win.

I certainly did.

I took the mound in the  bottom of the first and remembered what it was like when I faced these guys a few weeks ago (with my in-laws in attendance nonetheless).  I held them scoreless. Tonight I was determined to do the same.

I nearly did.

Despite walking too many, we pulled it out.  My catcher was with me all night.  My defense behind me was the best it has been all year.

I think it's hard for people to understand why this is such a big deal. I'm not sure I understand it. I guess that, when you have a passion for something and it's taken away from you..that's awfully destructive.  When you spend every day working toward a goal and achieving it, that's a pretty powerful thing.  When you finally get your second chance and you make it count...well, that's a special thing.

Lots of folks will scoff at something like this and write it off saying because it's not the major leagues then it doesn't matter.  Well, it does.  My gut tells me it does.  My wife tells me it does. My teammates tell me it does.  Color me convinced. 

Hell, maybe there are some big leaguers reading this and understanding it.  Well, probably not, but you never know. I know they could relate.  Ask Jake Peavy what it felt like to get on the mound again after tearing your lat muscle off of the bone. Ask Joe Nathan what it's like to be an elite closer again after TJ surgery. Ask Corey Luebke what it's like to spend every day waiting to get back on the mound again.  I'll bet they echo what I'm saying to some degree.

As I type, I'm about a day removed from a 70 pitch outing and my arm feels great.  I haven't pitched without pain in as long as I can remember.  It's almost odd.  You just get used to it after a while.  When it's not there, what nobody will tell you, is that you always expect it.  You wait for it.  You know it's coming so you change everything until you realize that this is the new normal.

So, this is it. I think I'm done with telling everyone about this crazy story of rehabs and Iron Man braces, and pain, skin flaking, and all of the stuff that people don't talk about. Well, here it is.  All of the crap in one place. I'll do a follow up that highlights the main points but for now, I have a lot of people to thank.  If you think you do this alone...ha! Never.  There is a gigantic supporting cast.

Dr. Thomas Trumble:  He shot me straight and told me rehab wouldn't fix it.  He then did a tremendous surgery which yielded a very small scar. I was going to go the Kyle Blanks route if it was big, but art is art.

Tim and the crew at IronWorks Gym:  I would go there every morning, arm in a sling, and do my rehab. Everyone in there was so encouraging and thoughtful that it meant starting the day off in a positive way every day of the week.  I'm still there 6 days a week getting weird looks as I throw into the sock.

Jamie Moyer: Jamie was 47 when he had this done. Spending 10 minutes with him learning what it takes to come back was priceless.  He'll never know how much he helped, but he did.  Just relating was a lot.

Teri and Jenn:  Just thanks.  You know.

Jake Peavy:  Not a small amount of inspiration.  I looked at that baseball every day.  It reminded me to keep going.  See also Teri and Jenn.

Nate Burgher:  See Moyer, Jamie but younger and more like me. Less cyborg

Ryan Alvis:  Thank you for going through this with me.  We need to be on the same team again really soon.

Joe Nathan: He was able to really talk straight to me as I was getting ready to pitch.  He told me the reality and encouraged me to learn how to pitch now instead of relying on what I did before. He reminded me that I may never be back to what I was and basically told me to figure it out.  Good advice. 

Jorge Reyes: The sock trick.  Saved my rehab. I owe you a beer in Peoria next spring.  I really do.

My Teammates:  Ivar, Chuck, Jim, Fred, George, Rich, Tim, and everyone on the Sierra Mariners and a lot of people in the Sierra division. My team believed in me coming back.  That is incredible faith.  I worked all winter with a lot of these guys and they had more faith in me than I had in myself.  That's a very empowering thing.  They helped me believe.  They encouraged me every step of the way.  My first outing, when I literally hit 3 batters, they should have given up. They didn't.  In fact, I got a lot of texts and emails just saying how happy they were that I could play again.  If you ever find teammates like this, don't let them go.  I'm thrilled to be a part of this team.

Michael Bailey:  You stuck with me through everything else, so why not surgery?  Despite my crappy effort thank you for being there.  It was huge.

Terry and Nadine Roberts:  Dad, you had enough faith in me coming back to buy me a new glove.  Mom, you knew  I would pitch in Safeco again. You never lost faith in me all of my life.  This is simply one example.

And Finally....
Ken Roll:  Trainer to the Mariners.  My therapist.  My Sherpa through this journey.  "The Claw". Had I not found you I don't know what I would have done. I wish you the best in your retirement my friend.  Please go fishing with Buhner in Montana until your freezer is full.  Then just go one more time because you can.  I hope to see you again. I'll look for you. One more good claw handshake would be just fine.

Katy: You helped me shower every day which was a gift to us both.  You dealt with my pain.  You took me to rehab.  You rubbed my back.  You watched out for me every hour.  You dealt with the ice packs, the Aleve, the early Saturday mornings, and every nerve before my pitching outings. You make it worth it.  You made it so much easier.  It's a wonderful gift to have you in my life every single day.


I always said that if I resurrect this blog, then something went really sideways. If you are that interested, go ahead and follow us here: 
http://pssbl.com/TeamSchedule.aspx?t=44&s=8

If you look up my stats, I only back up the long standing stereotype that pitchers cannot hit.

Please be well. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Another good outing

Pitched a couple of innings and allowed an unearned run.  Not too shabby.  No soreness in the elbow at all.  My muscles are a bit sore though.

Did I mention my RBI double?

I've given up my physical therapy.  I'm moving back to just good old fashioned training combined with 3 days a week of sock throwing. I've been doing that for about 2 weeks now and it's been pretty successful so I'm not going to fix what is broken. I'm also going to be washing the same shirt, socks, and pants and wearing those until I have a bad outing.

Not superstitious or anything...

I swear I'm going to wrap this up soon.  I just haven't had the time.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Well, that went well

1 IP, 1H, 1K 0R

I would call that quite a bit better than last time. I threw the new cutter in all but 2 pitches.  I threw one change up and a four seam fastball. That was it. Probably threw about 15 pitches total.

I felt great.  I really did.

Felt good to have a great group of teammates coming around afterward. They know what that meant. They've been around long enough to understand.

Even a member of the opposite team came up to me afterward and gave me his congratulations. That was great.

It's funny how this works. It was a really neat feeling to get back on there knowing that this was going to go better. I. had that same weird feeling when I crossed the line but not when I took the mound. I felt completely relaxed on the mound for the first time in about 2 years. I knew I wasn't going to hurt later,  I knew I wasn't doing any new damage. Everything was  finally ok.  Felt like playing right field  has felt all year...just easy.

Man, I missed that feeling. I also missed the feeling of striking someone out and having someone ground out on the first pitch because they had heard I "bring it".

Unfortunately, we lost the game.  In a way though I think the team took a small victory away.  They seemed to anyway.  I certainly took that victory...even though the game didn't end well. 

I appreciate my teammates a lot. I was happy to be able to pitch well in front of them.  Not only that, but my wife, father in law, and mother in law were all there as well. 

I'm just thankful to be able to play ball.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Saturday

Well, let's give it one more.

We have another game Saturday against the defending league champions so we'll see how that goes.

I haven't updated much because there hasn't been a lot ot say.  I'm about ready to close out this blog as most folks aren't terribly interested in how the season goes.  I guess I could go through the season and just post random things, but I don't think that's what this was about when I started.

I'll do a big wrap up post and then close this out. I have a lot to say about what it's been like to recover from this surgery both physicall and mentally.  I'll do a retrospective as well at some point.

I'm expecting to throw again on Saturday.  Otherwise, I'm getting a lot of good ABs and am playing a bad-ass right field.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Win #1

Not for me personally, but for our team. Felt great!

Turns out, I'm learning to play a decent right field.  I'm starting to wonder if my LASIK surgery was more important than my Tommy John.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Where did my mechanics go?

Whoa, been like 2 weeks. Sorry!

I fixed that little issue that was plaguing me earlier.  What was happening was my elbow was coming out lower in my delivery than my shoulder.  So, any deviation other than a 90 degree angle in delivery is going to cause everything to go haywire.

I made a few adjustments actually:
1. I am relaxing between pitches. I was working really fast which I normally do but it was way too fast.  I now take one or two breaths between pitches.
2. My hands are lower in my set position.  All my career I have been holding my hands at chest level.  I started dropping them at their length around my waist.  This does a few things for me: It makes me break my hands lower which forces my elbow even or above my shoulder and it breaks my hands earlier to allow that extra second (that I discussed earlier) for my feet to get to work.  It feels like there's a lot less torque on my elbow this way too.
3. I lean back a little. I was falling too much off of the 3rd base side during my windup so I worked on leaning back toward first base just a little bit. It keeps my balance better and lets me use my legs more.

These three things don't sound like much and they really aren't.  When they work together though they seem to be pretty solid. I threw the equivalent of 2 innings in an intrasquad game on Saturday and threw a lot of strikes already.  Sure, I got hit around pretty good, but I'm chalking that up to us having good hitters on the team.

The point is that I threw more strikes than balls and I was able to move my pitches around much better than before.  There were also a few things that just weren't working. My change up was not moving like it should. That's for sure. It wasn't sinking. It was hanging.  The cutter was working great and the fastball was fine.  I'm going to try to throw a slider again though.  Maybe with the improved mechanics I can throw it on occasion as a strikeout pitch and call it good.

We'll see!  I've got another game Sunday night.  We'll see what happens.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Whoops

So Saturday's outing didn't go as expect.  My pitching line looked terrible I'm sure. I hit 3 batters. I walked another one. I did manage to strike someone out on a change up down the middle that baffled him.  Beyond that, it was just flat out bad from the first pitch.  Jim wisely pulled me.

Now it's time to start wondering what happened.  I don't think it's a huge mystery.  I was way too up in my head and my mechanics went to all hell.  I suppose that's what happens when you spend 14 months preparing for that very moment.  When it's nearly all you can think about for over a year....

I crossed those white lines to the mound and I could barely walk. It was like everything I had worked for came rushing up.  All of the hours spent with a stupid green tube and a small bouncy ball.  All of the baseballs into a sock.  All of the conversations with Ken, Jamie, Joe, and others led up to me stepping across those lines and onto that mound.

And it all came over me at once.  I felt like I was going to trip over that chalk line.  Sure, it was weird taking over right field a few innings earlier.
-Side Note: It never fails.  I hadn't been in the outfield in almost two years and the first batter hits one right to me. 3 batters later I get a line drive.  I got both, but still....the ball always finds the new guy.
Even hitting was fine.  My swing was goofy a bit since I hadn't been in a game in a while and seen live pitching since about September of 2011 so I wasn't worried.  I made contact pretty well and had a good at bat on the strikeout.  Overall, not terrible.

For whatever reason, I expected pitching to just come back.  Like I had never left.  I had great practice outings and have thrown so many strikes over the last few months it was like I couldn't fail. But I did and did so in incredible style. I couldn't find a rhythm, a release poitn, movement, velocity, none of those things. I'm not sure I could have hti the broadside of a barn.  This after having yet another great bullpen a few days earlier and declaring myself ready to roll.  Hell, even our field manager Jim thought I'd be a nice surprise coming out of the bullpen.

Well, so much for that.  It's very hard to put into words the canyons of difference between expectations and execution.

Chuck, my regular catcher, texted me and said I should go out there and reverse my thinking.  Expect nothing.  Expect lots of line drives and home runs. See what happens.  I don't think he's wrong.

There are 23 more games this season.  I expect to throw in 22 of them and I expect to be good in 20 of them.  I have about one blow up per season.  Well, this was one of them. Let's hope there are no more.

I do want to mention a few things for those that have hung with me this long.
1. My teammates are great.  I got a lot of texts and emails that just said "Way to get back out there." They were from new guys, old guys, everyone.  I really appreciated those.  It meant a lot.  It was good to get back out there.  I'll only get better.  Eventually, nobody will remember that first outing.
2. The mental part of doing this was more than I could have imagined. It was REALLY hard.  I couldn't even see the catcher's glove out there.  I just saw a batter.  In all of my warmups, I couldn't believe how close home plate was.  Saturday, it felt like it was a mile away. Kudos to guys like Jamie Moyer, Jake Peavy, Joe Nathan and Nate Bergher who get back out there like nothing ever happened.  That's unreal.
3.  I'm ready to roll.  I'm want to do this. I don't want to be the right fielder. I want to be THE pitcher in this league.  I want my team to win. I want to come in and put them on my back and get to the finish line and win a championship.

That's what I signed up for. That's what I've worked for. I'll keep you guys posted. Keep up with us:
http://www.pssbl.com/Team.aspx?t=44

Thanks.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Saturday

Well, the first game is Saturday. I'm scheduled to throw an inning.

This is it. Well, as long as the Northwest weather cooperates that is.

I'm really nervous. I had a great warmup on Wednesday night.  I threw about 40 pitches.  I threw pretty hard...about 90% of where I was. The cutter started working. The change was slow. The fastball popped and I would just push off harder to dial it up and down.

My arm certainly hurt afterward, but again...all muscle.

I'm not going to get any more ready. Bring on the Stingrays.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A chat with Joe Nathan

At Friday's game, I got a chance to chat with Joe Nathan.

Joe is currently a staple in the Texas bullpen but spent most years as a dominant closer with the Minnesota Twins.  He was lights out often carrying a sub 2 ERA.  He would make dominant hitters look silly on a fairly regular basis.  In fact, he would do so enough to pass Rick Aguilera as the Twins' all time saves leader.

Not long ago, Joe joined the Tommy John club.  He missed all of the 2010 season with it and went back to spring training in 2012 only 11 months after his surgery.

I wanted to talk to Joe because I felt he would be able to provide some really great insight on fighting his way back to pitching.  I also figured he would be able to help me understand what some of my problems were.

Joe said that he STILL hasn't regained his velocity.  He felt that much of it was mental and some of it was physical.  Despite all of the work that he's done with strength training and physical therapy, it has never really come back for him.  So, you have to make adjustments.

He said it was nuts to come back so early.  He told me he had "no business" being in spring training so soon and regrets doing so. He reminded me to take my time and to not be in a huge rush though he understood the desire to start pitching again.

Joe was honest and encouraging. It was really great to just have 5 minutes to chat with him and get a little reassurance that I'm not going crazy.  He really helped me more than he knew.  That 5 minutes was distinctly valuable to me.

Maybe it's not a coincidence that I had a fantastic bullpen on Saturday. I started a LOT of legwork recently at the gym so I can use less arm and more lower body.  It seems to have paid off as I'm now getting significant separation from the rubber and striding more down the slope of the mound.  I did leave a few pitches up and in which I wasn't thrilled about and the change up was riding high which is precisely where I do NOT want it.  It'll get better.

Thanks again to Joe Nathan for really lifting my spirits and for being so honest and forthcoming.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Feeling better

Hi everyone,

I've been feeling a bit better with the throwing.  It finally feels like things are getting back on par with where I used to be.  I'm beginning to believe that mechanics are actually a pretty big part of my problem with velocity.

Kyle Boddy (www.drivelinebaseball.com) posted a video last week about Ubaldo Jimenez and how such a small tweak can make such a huge difference.  Jimenez, it ends up, is breaking his hand from his glove VERY early in the windup which causes him to stutter just a bit on his back leg. Basically, they were trying to fix a mechanics issue and he ends up a bit wobbly. This caused a dramatic decrease in his velocity.  From what I can see, I'd also argue that this will eventually cause him to be more up in the zone as well.  As he tries to aim his pitches, which pitchers tend to start doing when they miss, he'll lose even more velocity and movement.

The other thing that he mentioned was the unathletic delivery to the mound. While it's always been odd, as Kyle points out, it's now looking almost forced.  I often feel the same way with pitching nowadays. I used to be able to throw as loose as anything and now it feels very forced.  Some days are easier than others of course and I do expect this to get better over time.

I'm guessing that this is mostly up in my head and I just need to relax and throw.  One thing I've been doing more of is driving harder with my back leg.  I'm doing the sock throwing (on a downward plane) with weights on my legs hoping to increase my hip flexor muscles. Of course, I've also been incredibly diligent with squats, leg plyo work, and walking lunges.  This seems to help not only with pitching, but with hitting too.

So, it's time to get out of my head and trust my body to remember what it's supposed to do. At least somewhat.

Here's the link to Kyle's excellent writeup:
http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/ubaldo-jimenez-and-his-missing-96-mph-heater-a-mechanical-look/


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

It's unseasonably nice in the Northwest today. We spent it by taking the pups out along the waterfront so Lucy could bark at other dogs and Ginger could chase ducks.  The fact that Ginger can still move at anything more than a trot is great.

Yesterday I threw a great bullpen.  It was about 35 pitches off of the mound.  My velocity crept up just a little bit and I firmly belive that there's a mechanical issue in there someplace. I may simply be overthinking it and that's why I'm unable to solve it. I keep thinking that my legs are outpacing my arm and that I'm just a little behind myself up top. I added just a small twist in to try to let everything play out as it should and it seems to be better.  I just need to remember that cadence so I can repeat it with regularity.

I'm finally having good batting practices as well. It's amazing how much better you hit when stuff stops hurting.  I'm hitting a lot of things to right center and to dead right field while still being able to turn on something pretty easily.  I'm just hoping to be a better gap hitter and go for a lot of singles and doubles this time.  I think I can do it as I feel like I've been better able to handle pitches.

Baseball is really a lot more fun when it's not 34 degrees and cloudy.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Year Ago today...

It has been a year.

To the day.

March 23rd, 2012 was the day I had "the" baseball surgery that is so commonplace now that you simply wait to see who's going under the knife every spring training.  Every time you hear "elbow issue" or "tightness" you always start to think about when they're going to go under the knife.

So I had to celebrate a little bit.  I spent the morning where I hoped I would be: On a baseball field playing catch and throwing some pitches.  I even managed to hit a little bit and run around in the outfield.  It was a lot of fun.  Significantly better than being wheeled into an operating room and waking up to Otter Pops and confusion.

My arm feels good too.  Sure, there's a little soreness right now, but I'm expecting that.  I threw probably 30 pitches from the mound and did a lot of long toss as well.  The real thing is much more different than throwing into a sock.

Tomorrow are the PSSBL tryouts so I'll warm up with someone again. It'll be the first time I've done that back to back since the surgery.

The velocity is getting there again.  I made a small mechanical adjustment that seemed to help a little bit. I ended up twisting my left hip inside just a little bit which seemed to slow everything else down enough to let my arm catch up. I think my arm was behind my legs so I slowed the legs down to catch up.

My pitches still move pretty well, but could be better  I think I need to make a mechanical adjustment to my brain and just throw the pitches the way they're meant to be thrown.

So a year. What a long road it's been.  I just know that, in a month, when I take the mound in a game it's all going to be worth it. There's no doubt in my mind.  Just like I didn't ever doubt I'd be back.

I've been fortunate to have such a wonderful bunch of people supporting me especially my (now) wife Katy. She put up with the brace nonsense, the PT, the pain, the soreness, the multiple ice packs and everything else.  My teammates, friends, and Ken have been as supportive as ever.  Everyone just wants my arm to get better.

I think, if I had to sum it all up, I'm grateful to be where I am. I'm thankful that this last year is behind me and I'm ready to move forward.



Thursday, March 14, 2013

Not pain, just different

So I think the pain I've been feeling in the elbow has been from getting into "Maui" shape.  I've been going way too hard on the weights.

I'm changing direction now and moving toward the movement training as well as the really heavy leg items.  I'm doing a ton of lunges, squats, deadlifts, etc.  I'm also doing plyometric routines to try to get my agility back up and going.

We had a great practice on a field last week.  I ran around like a deer chasing balls down in the outfield and felt great.  I also made a lot of longer throws at about 130 feet or so and they seemed to have some zip and accuracy.

I then threw about 30 pitches off of the mound with no pain.  The FB, change, and new 2 seamer all were working just great.  However, the velocity is still down.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sorry...got married

I got married on February 25th.

That's one of many reasons that this blog has been empty.  Sorry about that.

I'm not sorry about spending two weeks in Maui marrying my awesome wife.  That...was....fantastic.

Here's a quick update:

-My elbow is much less sore after Maui.  I was clearly overdoing it on the weights.  That's not a surprise. I tend to do that. I think the swimming helped a BUNCH.

-I am cleared to throw off of the mound now.

-I am very cleared to throw from flat ground as much as I want to now.

- I'm starting my baseball training regimen now.  I'm going to focus on my core and legs this year and then keep up my PT strength training as well. I'm thinking that should be everything I need.

Sorry this is short but I'll have more next week I'm sure.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Meeting Moyer

I've gone on and on in this blog about how much I admire Jamie Moyer.

Well, I finally got to meet him.


It was great.  We hung out and chatted about Ken Roll (my physical therapist and the PT for the Mariners for years), Tommy John surgery and pitching.  It was awesome. I was so thrilled.  It was really one of the best baseball experiences I've ever had.

So, here's the rundown:
-They always called Ken "The Claw" because Ken has gigantic paw like hands.
-Jamie is ready to pitch this year if anyone calls.  Unfortunately, my Padres aren't interested due to the "youth movement" which, as Jamie put it, "Always works so well."
-I told him how much I admired him and looked up to him especially being able to come back from surgery like he did.  He appreciated it.
-Jamie took no painkillers after surgery.
-We shared stories of having to sleep in the weird positions with that crazy half cast
-We both agreed that the big wrap/cast thing was the worst part of the surgery.
-He only wore the brace for a few weeks.  Said he couldn't stand it and just gave up.  Meanwhile, I told him that I would look at it wrong out of the brace and it would hurt like hell.
-He was lifting boxes 6 weeks out of surgery.
-He signed a ball and a couple of cards for me.

This was just such a neat experience for me I can't even explain. I have a whole new respect for Jamie.  I mean, he is an iron man. He truly is a wonder.  How he can come back strong from that surgery at his age is amazing.  I admire him more now than I did before.

He's great.  He's just a fantastic person and I'm thrilled to have met him.

Monday, January 21, 2013

New Glove

I got a new glove when I was down in California.

My dad, nephew and I were headed back to the house after a glorious burger at In N Out when dad wanted to stop at Dick's Sporting Goods on the way back.  He wanted to get a glove so he could play catch with my youngest nephew Josh.  He thought when Josh was then old enough, he could give him the glove.

Makes sense.  Josh is super into baseball and football.  He's really into sports of all kinds and it turns out he's pretty good!  I think he's more football than baseball, but baseball has a pretty good place in his heart.  Here's a picture:

He's a good dude.  Anyway, dad loves playing catch with him.

Dad told me at Dick's that he would really love to buy me a great glove.  I had told him a few months ago that my old Mizuno outfield glove was one strong line drive away from tearing through the pocket. It's almost 10  years old and has seen heavy use so I suppose that's probably about right.

I spent a pretty strong 45 minutes picking out the right glove.  It's a Rawlings for the first time. I've always used Mizunos, but the Rawlings felt really good this time around.

Anyway, when we got back to the house, we both loosened up the laces a bit and then did something we hadn't done in ages.  We went out back and played catch on the patio...for probably about 20 minutes.

That was the patio that I used to throw on when I was a kid.  I would spend as much time as I could pitching to my dad.  I would toe up at the edge of the iceplant and deliver to the now-enclosed dining room (formerly outdoor deck).  Dad would dutifully catch me as often as he could.

If dad wasn't around, I would throw a tennis ball against the side of the house as often as I could.  I figured I would work on throwing hard and then fielding as well.  That was back when I could actually field a ground ball.

At any rate, that day brought me solidly back to my childhood and my love of baseball that I've had as long as I can remember.

It's one of those things that I'll always look back on and remember really fondly.  I just thought I'd mention this.  I know it's not TJ related really, but it was special to me.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Bullpen and BP on Saturday

As I've mentioned, we've been holding some BP and bullpen sessions on Saturdays down at Newport High School.

By the way, Newport is another crazy good secret spot.  The cages are always unlocked. They're undercover.  They are lit. There are L-Screens already there.  They even have the nice sturdy wooden mounds. This is a great place that's centrally located and always available. 

They also maintain this place.  They don't let it rot like Lake Washington does. Plus, the janitor guy is there every Saturday morning and he's always painting.  I don't know how many more coats of paint the interior needs, but apparently it's a lot.  We think he likes his quiet Saturdays working in the office upstairs and uses "painting" to get away from his family.  

Had another good session hitting the ball.  I think having no pain is a gigantic deal. You don't realize how lousy you feel until you don't feel it.

Throwing wasn't as successful.  I didn't feel great and I couldn't figure out what it was.  I'm guessing it was something with my mechanics, but I had no idea what.  It was frustrating either way. My targeting was mediocre and velocity was way down.  

It's a bummer and probably a case of "Don't worry about it, you'll get there." However when you're trying to throw the heat and it's just not there...that's a mighty odd feeling.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Throwing from the flats

Well, alrighty!

Even though I'm throwing further and further every day, Ken has cleared me to throw once a week from flat ground at 60 feet.  No mound and "fastballs" only, but it's a start.  I feel ready to roll this way in a lot of ways.  I'm excited to get the velocity, accuracy and movement back.

I'm still being encouraged to work my way up to 150 feet which is basically a bit further than across the diamond.  I'm at 120 now and confident and can let it fly pretty good from then.

This brings up the question I always get asked about pitching.  What's the difference between pitching and throwing.

Throwing is where you hit an area form a longer ways away.  Not difficult, but not as easy as you might thing.  Pitching is determining where your throw will go within an inch and with repeatable mechanics.  My mechanics could be way off during a throw in from the outfield and I'll still make it whereas when I pitch...well, not the same case.

Mechanics in pitching are much tougher to correct.  You can't simply correct on the fly or count on your partner to adjust enough to make it effective. When playing the outfield, the cutoff player can adjust and react appropriately.

At any rate, I'm all about building arm strength now.  I'm continuing the conditioning program every day as well as progressing in the throwing program.

The goal is to be back and throwing from the mound in April.  I have about 6-8 weeks of flat ground training ahead and then it's really back to the mound for bullpens. I'm projecting being able to throw out of the 'pen for the first part of the year and then re-evaluate after July.

Phew! There is still a lot of work ahead, but there is so much behind me too.  It's a huge relief!

Pardon the pun.