October 22, 2007

Hey! Don't forget about me!

Well it's already been a year that learned Twins hard-throwing left-hander Francisco Liriano would miss the entire 2007 season while he recovered from Tommy John Surgery.

Well a year later, after months, and months of rehabilitation, Francisco Liriano is finally finished with his rehab program. He is now heading back to his home in the Dominican Republic to prepare for Spring Training like he normally would.

This is incredibly encouraging for the Twins who will need a healthy Liriano this season more with Carlos Silva and Johan Santana both possibly gone.

I know that we shouldn't expect much from him this season, because he'll obviously be rusty. And a lot of pitcher are never the same, but I'm optimistic that Liriano will be one of the "chosen ones" that comes back better than before.

A lot of pitchers learn that they develope 2 sometimes 3 mile per hour faster on their fastball which would put Liriano at or very close to the 100 MPH mark.

A few other pitchers who have successfully recovered from TJ Surgery include; Erik Bedard, John Smoltz, Mariano Rivera, Kenny Rogers, Jason Isringhausen, and the 2006 National League Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter is rehabing.

Obviously that list is very encouraging, but there are also a few guys that make you remember, that it's not always going to help such as Kerry Wood or Joe Mays.

But with the encouraging news we've gotten through Liriano's entire rehab program of how he's been (almost) ahead of schedule and has looked great, makes you have optimism for a 100% recovery.

One of the Twins top pitching prospects Jeff Manship did a Q&A with me in August, here is what he had to say in regards to his Tommy John Surgery.

Josh's Thoughts: (Sorry in advance if this is a difficult subject to talk about). You had Tommy John surgery in College, what exactly was wrong with your forearm? What was the hardest part about rehab? And does a player need to stick to a strict program while recovering?

Jeff Manship: I first felt discomfort in my elbow while playing for Team USA in the summer after my senior year of high school. We were playing in a tournament in Curacao, Netherland Antilles and in the 4th inning of a game against Venezuela, I injured my arm. I threw a fastball and immediately my whole forearm and elbow tightened up. I followed with 3 more pitches and they all felt the same so I pulled myself out of the game. I never heard the infamous "pop" of my ligament tearing so I did not believe any serious damage had occured. I ended up having Tommy John surgery in Febuary of my freshman year.

The hardest part about the rehab was how monotonous it got. The pain was never too severe. The only discomfort I felt was in the early stages when trying to stretch my elbow out and remove the scar tissue.

If you want to recover it is wise to strictly follow the program. I was determined to come back 100% so I made sure to do everything correctly. I was also informed that I could possibly come back throwing harder so that provided extra incentive to work harder.
So obviously, it's encouraging to see him do so well after his surgery, I just can't help but wonder how great our rotation will be in 2-3 years (with or without Johan Santana).