Adams' return to form has been impressive
All professional players have injury setbacks, but no position is defined by injuries more than the pitcher.
Before right-hander Austin Adams had surgery on his throwing shoulder in May 2012, he was riding the crest of the wave. Over the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Adams threw 243 strikeouts in 248 innings in Single-A and Double-A. Then the injury came, threatening to make him another hurler derailed by the treatment table.
But Adams hasn’t let that happen.
After missing the 2012 season entirely, Adams came back strongly at Double-A Akron last year, striking out 76 in just 55 innings.
The return to the mound was a welcome reprieve from the tedium involved with his rehab during 2012, but Adams still reflects positively on the experience.
“It was a lot of boredom, but we made the best of it out there in Arizona, me and some of other guys that were rehabbing,” Adams said. “We just tried to stay as focused as we could while we were on the field for those two or three hours a day.”
The successful return to form was punctuated by the Indians adding Austin to the 40-man roster in November of last year. Adams said the honor meant a lot to him.
“It was a great feeling,” Adams said. “I was very happy and pleased with the way they responded to my surgery and everything, and I was just glad I could make the 40-man.”
The post-surgery success hasn’t even come with any real changes in the way he pitches, according to Adams.
“It wasn’t really an adjustment, it was just getting used to playing everyday again, getting my command back,” Adams said. “I worked on that a lot in spring training with Mickey Callaway, the big league pitching coach, and worked on location down in the zone a little bit and it’s helped me out.”
Getting to work with the likes of Calloway this spring in Goodyear was something Adams clearly won’t forget.
“It was fun,” Adams said. “I only threw three innings up there (in Goodyear) but I had a great time and enjoyed it as much as I could.”
Not only did Adams enjoy it, he also left an impression on the entire Indians coaching staff including Terry Francona, who told Cleveland.com that “[t]here is a lot to like,” about the reliever.
Now his focus is on translating his success to Triple-A this season. He’s appeared in 15 games so far, notching 18 strikeouts with a 4.05 ERA.
Adams doesn’t seem too far off of a shot in the Majors, and he said he must stay the course if he is to get there.
“I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing and go out there everyday and give it my best shot and wait for that moment for me.”
As for the shoulder, it seems that Adams has moved well past that painful experience.
“It feels great. It’s 100% healthy again and no setbacks or anything.”
So much for a debilitating injury. Adams’ return to form has been impressive, and it doesn’t seem like it will take long for his recovery to lead to the highest level.