I recently had a chance to visit my good friend Chris Ray, a middle reliever for the Baltimore Orioles, during Spring Training in Ft. Lauderdale. Chris is just coming off of Tommy John Surgery in 2008 but had an impressive 11 IP, 0 ER spring.
Without further ado….
1. FIRST AND FOREMOST, HOW IS THE ARM FEELING AFTER THE TOMMY JOHN SURGERY?
Arm is feeling good. My elbow hasn’t felt this good since I was in little league.
2. HOW EXTENSIVE WAS THE REHAB PROCESS FOR THE TOMMY JOHN, AND CAN YOU GIVE THE READERS A LITTLE EXAMPLE OF WHAT A DAILY REHAB ROUTINE MAY HAVE ENTAILED?
For the first four months post-op, it was nothing but physical therapy. I would go 5 days a week for about 2 and a half hours. At first, it was primarily “forcing” my elbow back and forth in order to regain the flexibility. Once full range of motion was regained, strengthening the elbow and shoulder followed.
3. DID YOU DEVELOP ANY NEW PITCHES THAT YOU WILL BE USING DURING THE SEASON DURING YOUR REHAB PROCESS?
I haven’t developed any new pitches, but I have improved on my off-speed pitches. They seem to be sharper and more consistent in the strike zone.
4. ARE YOU COMFORTABLE IN A SETUP ROLE WITH A CHANCE AT SOME SPOT SAVES?
First off, I’m in the big leagues. If I’m pitching, I’m happy. I just like being in the bullpen with a chance to pitch every night. If George needs a day, I’ll be ready to fill in for him.
5. DURING YOUR HIGH SCHOOL CAREER, YOU WERE NOT NECCESARILY KNOWN AS A HARD THROWER. AT WHAT POINT DID YOU REALIZE THAT YOUR ARM HAD EITHER GOTTEN STRONGER OR YOU HAD CHANGED SOME MECHANICS THAT ALLOWED YOU TO THROW IN THE MID TO HIGH 90′S?
I think it first became apparent the summer after my senior year in high school. I was playing for the Tampa Catholic team and began to start throwing the ball by people. I’m not sure what prompted the increase in velocity. The following summer in the Valley League, I was topping out at 95mph. I did run a lot more once I got to college, by more I mean more than not at all! That could have had something to do with it.
6. WHO IS/ARE YOUR LEAST FAVORITE PLAYER(S) TO HAVE TO FACE?
I don’t enjoy throwing to guess hitters. Those guys who take the first two fastballs balls that get a good portion of the plate, and then waffle the best slider I have because they had been sitting on it since the beginning of the at-bat.
7. WHAT PITCHER DO YOU THINK HAS THE NASTIEST STUFF IN THE LEAGUE?
Johan Santana. Anyone who can throw a change-up 15mph under the fastball with no change in arm angles or speed is a freak.
8. WHY DID WE GET CRUSHED BY SO MANY LITTLE KIDS WHILE PLAYING EA SPORTS NHL 09 A COUPLE WEEKS AGO?!
My back was already sore from the extra running in spring training to take on the load you were asking of me.