For Bleich, the wait continues
JB: I wasn’t sure of a specific guideline. Obviously I knew shoulders are tough, but I feel really good right now. I feel a lot better this year. Looking forward to making some strides here and definitely getting back in games and competing – I miss all that stuff.
JN: After your last start with Trenton, you seemed a little testy with us. Did you know you were in trouble at the time, as far as the pain in your shoulder was concerned?
JB: I think I was frustrated with the situation. For a little bit of time it just didn’t feel right. I was competing and stuff, but thinking back it’s definitely been a long road. I’m super excited to get back up there and I think all this stuff, in the long run, will help me handle those game-to-game situations, just dealing with ups and downs within the game. I’ve definitely matured a lot and learned a lot from the whole situation.
JN: How long had it been bothering you before told the team something was wrong?
JB: Probably my last couple of starts. I think maybe three or four starts before that, I just didn’t feel right. Things just got a little worse and I finally said something and obviously got things taken care of.
JN: What kind of signs was your body giving you that something was wrong?
JB: I just didn’t feel right. The ball wasn’t coming out of my hand right, didn’t feel as smooth as I had. All those things kind of came together and told me something wasn’t right.
JN: What had you been doing to try to alleviate the problem before you had surgery?
JB: Different shoulder exercises and stuff. Sometimes, you know, you go through spells when you know you’re totally healthy but you’re just a little sore. You’ve just got to test it out and continue to do what you’re doing. I think things continued not to feel right, and that’s when I finally said something.
JN: Have you had any setbacks during the recovery process?
JB: There have been a few times when – no major setbacks – but just times when I’m getting my consistency back and the feel back and those things that probably took a little longer than I would have liked. I wouldn’t say there were any major setbacks.
JN: What's your timetable for returning to game action?
JB: I’m not sure exactly, time-wise. Right now I’m throwing bullpens, and hopefully I’ll face hitters very soon in a live BP setting. Then once that happens, I would assume I’ll maybe pitch a few innings down here and hopefully at some point make my way back.
JN: What's the normal procedure for recovering from a labrum operation?
JB: Surgery, and then you do all your shoulder exercises and range of motion-type stuff and progress through a throwing program – flat ground, long toss, get on a half-mound, get a full mound – then you still have to face hitters. Obviously the last year, just getting back and being pain-free took time. Finally I had the offseason to rest. Came back this year and I’m making my way back now.
JN: What do you think has been the biggest hurdle you've cleared?
JB: This spring has been huge for me. I’m feeling a lot better and the ball’s coming out of my hand really well. Starting to feel strong, recovering better, all of those things. I think just being more comfortable and feeling better and knowing that I’m stronger and that I’ve worked out – all those things will help.
JN: Was there any worry going into the surgery, especially considering the great deal of uncertainty that comes with shoulders, as opposed to the more routine Tommy John surgery?
JN: Were you ever worried that this would end your career?
JB: Nah. I never really worried (that It would be my career).