Well, folks, as you may or may not have heard, I’ve been deemed healthy by the Texas Rangers medical staff. The last year of blood, sweat, tears, and surgery is now “in the books.” The game that I love is now within reach. It’s now become a waiting game. Once I’m healthy, I can’t just….leave. I can’t just be deemed healthy and expect to be put right out into the system. It’s understandable that the Rangers want to see me throw a few times in Arizona. Throwing multiple games will ensure health. The last thing anyone wants is a pitcher who thinks he’s healthy because all he really wants is to leave Arizona. That mindset benefits no one. Allowing myself and the Rangers to know that I’m healthy benefits everyone.
I woke up yesterday morning anxiously awaiting that 20 minute bus ride to the Peoria Sports Complex. During the last year, that trip down Bell Road is one that either involved In-N-Out, the mall, or some kind of trip to waste time. Yesterday however, that trip meant something to me. Not that In-N-Out doesn’t. I was rolling down Bell Road on my way to throw the first game in about a year.
There are days in shoulder surgery rehabilitation that made me feel as if I was in a deep, dark hole that I couldn’t escape from. I would drive to the baseball field each day, yet never be able to step on it. I could hold a baseball, yet only for shoulder exercises. I could watch other guys run out there and toss the ball around, take ground balls, throw bullpens, and pitch in games. However, I couldn’t. The game that I love so much was taken from me. Slowly but surely I dug myself out of that hole. I scratched and clawed my way back. Little daily victories, followed by weekly victories, followed by monthly ones. I slipped and fell a few times on my way back out of that dark hole. I hit the ground hard, but got back up and started scratching and clawing again. There was only one option for me. To overcome. To play baseball again. I wasn’t going to let anything stop me.