Getting back on the mound

First let me say that I hope this is the right forum, as well as personally thank anyone who takes the time to read this. I have a feeling that this post could be a little long, but I’ll do my best to make it as short as possible.

The short of my question is how realistic would it be to get back into pitching after not playing for almost 5 years? I gave up the game of baseball at 15 years old because at the time I was suffering chronic knee pain and because I had just gotten a job to save money for a car.

Like I said I gave up pitching because of chronic pain in the knee of my stride leg. The pain was constant during any demanding use of the leg. Pitching on it was virtually impossible. I saw a couple of doctors about the knee and both of them gave me the same story. A couple of seasons before the knee pain started I was playing 3rd base and took a line drive off the inside of my left knee. My entire knee bruised immediately. I was pulled from the game and missed the next couple of games. In a bad decision on the part of my parents I was not taken to the doctor. The bruising went away in just a few days and we never thought much about it. A couple of years worth of pitching later I started to have pain in the knee. The doctors told me that I had a grade 3 MCL tear made worse since it was so long after the initial blow to the knee. I was told to wear a brace on the knee at all times unless I was taking a shower or sleeping. I have been pain free for about a year in the knee and have made a return visit to one of the doctors and the tear has healed itself. The doctor gave me the go ahead to attempt a return to the mound.

I’ve had baseball fever since I stopped playing, but it has become much more intense since I have been able to return to pain free physical activity. I’m currently going into my Junior year at a D-III college. Any advice on what it would take to make it as a walk-on so late into my college career and without touching the mound in so long or if the coach would even be willing to look at someone in my condition with a history of knee problems? Back when I was pitching I was bring a 4-seam fastball, 2-seam fastball, slider, splitter, and a 3-finger change. At age 15 I was hitting around 83-84 consistently with the fastball.

Of course you have a shot to make the team. It sounds like you were a gifted pitcher at 15 cause 84 is extremely fast for that age. All you have to do is start throwing again and your velocity should come back. Since you dont have any injuries anymore I dont see why you wont be able to reach your past velocity or even beyond that.

As far as the coach goes I believe that if you can prove you belong there he will put you n the team regardless of your past knee injury, because thats what it is…in the past. Just get at it cause its never to late to start over and I know it would bug you for life if you never tried. So good luck and keep me posted how u do.

It’s pretty realistic … I got back to pitching after a 9-year layoff … granted I’m not playing at the college level …

Thanks guys! I talked with the coach at my school this morning. He pointed me in the direction of an adult fallball league in my area and said that playing there would be a great place to start. As it would get me back into shape and give him a chance to get a good look at me. I’m going to break out my old glove and see if it still fits and is in good condition and pick up a new pair of cleats probably tomorrow and get started on this. I’ll try to keep you updated on how things are going and maybe even get a video up to see if the mechanics are what they used to be.

I just wanted to give one more update. After throwing a couple of times I realized just how much work I need before I’m even close to being on the level of a college player, even at the D-III level. I’m taking the fall and winter to get in the best possible shape, get my velocity back, help my mechanics, and master the one pitch that I’ve always had problems locating (changeup). And then I’m going to play in an adult league over the Spring and Summer, play the fall ball league that the coach pointed me to, and hopefully make the roster at school next Spring. Taking years off from the sport and then trying to make a comeback in just one week was not possible.

I’m going to post a video of my throwing in the Mechanics forum in just a couple of seconds. Please take a look. I know I need some help.

The key thing for you is not to rush it. You’ll want to get your velocity up quickly but doing so would almost certainly damage your arm. You need to use something similar to the interval throwing program used by players recovering from Tommy John surgery. Your tendons and ligaments have probably healed since you stopped pitching, but your tendons, ligaments and bones have almost certainly atrophied relative to where they need to be to handle high velocity pitching and throwing. Give it time and listen to your arm. If you feel pain, take a couple days off and go back a step in your program.