After Heartbreaking Injury, Central Heights Pitcher Makes Return
It's a word that has been used many times to describe the pitching performances of Grayson Rodriguez. When he was pitching in high school at Central Heights, the 6-foot, four-inch fireballer was bringing 90+ mph heat from the mound. Many opposing batters considered it a small victory just to hit a foul ball off Rodriguez.
The Blue Devil pitcher was the number one pick of the Baltimore Orioles, and over the past several years he has made outstanding progress as he has advanced through Major League Baseball's farm system. These dominating performances led him to be rated as the number one pitching prospect in all of baseball.
Ready for the Big Leagues
This season, Rodriguez was assigned to play Triple-A baseball for the Norfolk Tides. This is the last rung on the ladder before being called up to the Majors. From May until early June, Grayson was nothing short of dominating, again. He was 5-1 with an amazing ERA of 2.04. He was averaging about 1.5 strikeouts per inning.
The Oriole faithful were blowing up fan forums calling for the promotion of Rodriguez to the Big Leagues. Most baseball experts were forecasting that his call-up was just days away.
Injuries are part of the game, but the timing of this one was devastating. While pitching in early June, Grayson suffered a Grade 2 lat strain to his right side. This huge muscle connects the bone of the upper arm to the spine and the hip.
Treatment for this grade of strain requires weeks of rest and rehabbing. Grayson's doctors and trainers approximated that he may be able to return to pitching by September.
On September 1, three months to the day since his injury, Grayson Rodriguez pitched in a ball game. It was a rehab assignment game, and by design he only pitched a little over one inning.
He gave up one hit and his fastball reached speeds of 98 mph. According to an article, Rodriguez said he was pleased with the effort and how he felt.
Grayson will continue his rehab stint with his next outing coming at the Double-A level. If he continues to pitch well, is a promotion to the Big Leagues still possible? There are only about 4 weeks of regular season baseball left, so normally, you might want to take the progress slowly and wait until next year to consider bringing Rodriguez to the Major Leagues.
But, something abnormal has been happening to the Orioles over the summer. They've been winning...a lot. As a result, they are actually in the hunt for postseason play. So...if Grayson continues to perform well through his rehab pitching, some insiders are thinking that he may get a call up to help the Orioles chase down a Wild Card slot.
I was so looking forward to watching Rodriguez make his Major League debut earlier this year, and part of me hopes that it still happens this season. However, the most important thing to consider is his health, especially for the long-term even if that means waiting until 2023 to watch him dominate at the Major League level,
LOOK: 50 images of winning moments from sports history