Pitching again after a long break

Hey everyone, I am new to the board but I have been a casual reader for the last 2 years. I am 19 and trying out for my Colleges Baseball Team.

My senior year in my last game of spring ball I partially Tore my MCL. Let me tell you it was very painful. I was told I would not be 100% for about 12 weeks. 80% in 6 weeks and 50% in 2. I had a summer season coming up and knowing that Freshman tryouts were coming up for the college team this fall (Fall of 2011) I knew I needed to work hard. I pushed myself in therapy worked really hard, and I was itching to play baseball. I was told 6-8 weeks I was back playing in 4. Now with some limitations of course. I am a pitcher and an outfielder…no outfield for me. I could pitch but on a limited basis, so they moved me to 2nd base, coach got alot of flack for it because i’m left handed but I held my own (no errors) and went 12-21 hitting for that year (all singles) I was slow, sore, and out of shape lets just put it. I was hitting well but my pitching was not so hot.

I went to tryouts still not being able to play outfield so i just pitched. Each pitcher threw about 6 IP by the time i got cut and I gave up only 1 run, but my velocity was gone because I could not bend my back knee. I pitched well but got cut. All year i lifted and worked on running, and fat loss, I am 40 lbs lighter from christmas and now i am giving it one more go.

I struggled pitching this summer, couldn’t get my release point, my velocity was good but no control (prob throwing 5-7 MPH faster then my senior year) and i grew 3 inches. Still pretty short at 5ft8 but I can’t control that nor will i use it as an excuse. I hurt my shoulder in June. not sure what the injury was but I couldn’t throw a baseball without pain, one pitch and i was done. So i stopped throwing until a week ago and the pain is gone now. So far in tryouts I have been playing outfield and first, we have our first scrimmage today and they asked me to pitch since they knew me from last year.

After not throwing for a few months what approach should I take to this outing. People tell me its just a scrimmage and not to worry but every outing from here on out could be my last and I could get cut. I found a good life in college so if i dont make the team i’ll be fine so i am not near as nervous as last year, just competitive and my love for baseball is still there. After not pitching for two months, and not pitching effectively for over a year, how should I go at these guys? I have no pain in my shoulder or my knees so i am ready to go. I guess this has to do more with Mental strength but I want to see what you guys have for an opinion!

Thanks!

  • Spencer

I see your computer does the same thing as mine—repeats itself!
Let’see now…The first thing I want to say is, don’t worry about your lack of size. There was a pitcher in the American League long ago, name of Bobby Shantz, who was all of five-foot-six—and he was one of the best pitchers in the game. Maybe he wasn’t a rip-roarin’ fireballer, but he could throw in the low 90s, and he had some very good stuff. Won a lot of games.
I can understand your concern—perhaps even your desperation—in wanting to get back into shape as fast as you can, but maybe you should have taken a bit more time. Now, there are two important things involved in getting back into it—building up your arm strength and strengthening the core—the legs, hips and torso. I learned to do this by watching how the Yankee pitchers did it; they were driving off the lower half of the body, and in so doing they not only generated the power behind their pitches, they also took a lot of pressure off the shoulder and the arm, thus enabling them to throw harder and faster with less effort (even Eddie Lopat, who was not a fireballer). You should do a good deal of running—preferably wind sprints, which serve pitchers better than trying to run ten miles. As for the arm—do a lot of throwing. Pitching coaches like Johnny Sain and Leo Mazzone used to say, “Throw every day”—usually just playing catch at various distances. I would also recommend a good bullpen session, with a catcher, just to see where you’re at with regard to your stuff. That way you can determine what to do next.
What I used to do in my playing days: I would get a catcher, and we would go to an unused playing field where he would set up behind the plate with his mitt while I took the mound, and we would play a little game we called “ball and strike”. The catcher would position his mitt in various spots—high, low, inside, outside, on the corners—and my objective was to get as many of my pitches as possible right into the pocket of that mitt. We would go at it for an hour at a time; it was great fun as well as a terrific workout, and I would use all my pitches at different speeds, including the crossfire (I was one of those infuriating sidearmers). Believe me, I can’t think of a better way to sharpen one’s control.
Above all, relax. You’re about to get into some competitive pitching, and the important thing is to show what you’ve got—what stuff you have and what hyou can do with it. Maybe you are not a purveyor of high cheese—but if you have a decent curve ball, a good changeup, and perhaps a sinking fast ball (which makes for some nice ground-ball outs), and you can throw strikes with some consistency, you’ve got a good chance. So go to it, and good luck. :slight_smile: 8)

Spencer,

Was your knee injured by being struck, stress loads, or something else?

What grade MCL were you diagnosed with, and by what medical professional – General Practitioner, physical therapist, sport’s trainer, etc.?

How did you injure your shoulder? Did you get a medical diagnoses on that injury?

Coach B