After not being able to pitch for over a month, Marco Gonzales is more than appreciative to be back on the mound.
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“I’m very grateful to be back playing and pitching. It’s humbling being away from this game, you realize it can be taken away from you instantly,” said Gonzales, who has been forced to deal with injury for the first time. “It’s really been different this entire process of going through rehab and being up and down.”
Gonzales originally was placed on the disabled list after his start for Memphis on April 20th with shoulder tightness but had shown progress in rehab starts before being diagnosed with an impingement in mid-May.
“It’s tough because the MRI on a shoulder impingement doesn’t show anything–it really comes across as clean and so seeing that is pretty confusing and still feeling some pain in a certain area,” shared Gonzales. “It’s really tough knowing you had a clean MRI, but you can’t pitch and have pain.”
“Had to go some different things to correct that and kind of strengthen the back of my shoulder to pull my shoulder back to relieve some of that pain and that pressure. It’s been a process and certainly a learning one for sure. I’m thankful for that, it’s taught me a lot.”
The left-hander also believes he may have formed a bad habit of poor posture that contributed to the condition, but among other things has made himself more accountable for how he stands and sits throughout the day.
Unsure of when his next start will be, Gonzales was pleased with his first rehab start this past Friday–which centered on fastball command.
“That was my main focus and just moving side to side,” said Gonzales. “Threw a couple good changeups and a good curveball. It was a good start for me and I think that moving forward I can mix in some other off-speed but my main focus was location of fastball for sure.”
“The most important thing for is I wasn’t trying to force it,” he added. “I wasn’t trying to throw hard and it was coming out low-90s, which is good and I didn’t feel like I was having to overthrow. Again on that note, there was no pressure. There was no pain.”
–Previewing the Home Run Derby, Gonzales had faced a couple of the competitors in the competition. He and Kris Bryant go all the way back to competing in high school, he struck out Todd Frazier in big league action, and also had Joc Pederson stand in against him. So, who was his pick to win the Derby?
“He actually took me deep last year, so just because of that, I’m going to go with him winning it,” laughed Gonzales. “He’s got so much pop, he’s a got a sweet swing, a good dude too. I’m cheering for him. I’m sure for all those young guys–it’s cool to see some young guys stepping up and making an impact in the game right now. The 25-and-under crew has been talked about a lot this year, but I think it’s awesome to see all these guys–especially with Wacha and Carlos representing us in the All-Star Game. It’s just cool to see that. It’s awesome to root for those guys.”
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports