May 2013

Almost Game Time

Hey everyone I’m back at it and getting closer everyday! I have been working hard and am in the last stretch of rehab. It’s surreal to think that it has been 14 months but in about two weeks I am back in the games!

I have been back on the mound for a few weeks and working on all my different pitches. It has been a lot of fielding practice to ensure I am ready for my first game since my injury. Now that I am back to being completely healthy, it’s definitely a different feeling when I throw but as other guys who have been through it have told me, it just takes time and I will be back to feeling normal.

I have noticed that some of my breaking balls are sharp and have lots of movement while others seem to be a bit loopy and hard to control. As for my fastballs, they seem to jump out of my hand while others are a bit wild. It has been a lot of fun being back on the mound especially when I notice an improvement from day to day. In baseball and especially rehab, we have to strive for excellence in order to get back on track and learn from our mistakes.

The biggest difference I have noticed out of my throws is my change-up. I am thinking it is going to be a really good pitch when I make my return.  As we have seen this season, injuries are a part of the game regardless of what league you are in; it is just how you decide to react to it. If you are able to take the negatives and turn them into positives you are much more likely to progress in baseball and in life.

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A hobby update, I have gotten back into fishing on a regular basis and shooting. The outdoors have played such a big part in my life growing up and it’s nice to be able to get out there a bit during season. I’ve been fishing on a pretty regular basis and lucky for me I moved condos where there is a big pond right outside of my place.  So how could I not get out there and get a pole in the water??

As for shooting I thought I had found a pretty solid range here in Palm Beach after hearing about it from a couple locals, I quickly found out the complete opposite! Sign a waiver and you’re pretty much all on your own. That might sound like a good deal but everyone is not the same experience level. I’m very good with gun safety and teaching others my techniques, while others hit the target and throw their hands in the air while holding their loaded gun in their hands… big no-no! There was another guy who brought in a rifle…without a case, and a lady hit our target. Needless to say, we won’t be going back there.

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My mom’s birthday was this past weekend so she came in town and we went to our favorite place, Jetty’s. It’s always fun hanging with family. I’m very blessed to have an unreal family. I want to thank everyone who has put in their email address on the right hand side to receive updates on the blog. Don’t forget you can also follow me on twitter @jordanswagerty for blog updates. God Bless!

Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, which happens to be a day to really show your mom how much she is appreciated. I thought I would share with ya’ll about my mom, the one woman in this world who really is the backbone to our family. She has been there for me not only through this roller coaster of ups and downs of baseball but also in my personal life. My mom and I are very similar which at times causes us to bump heads but overall I know that she has my best interest. I wanted to take this platform of the blog to really let my mother know how thankful I am for her and everything she has done through out the years for me.

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My mom and I in Hawaii

 

From my childhood to now, my parents have always been very involved in my life. In the summertime when I first started playing baseball my mom would be at every practice and game making sure I was there on time and getting the best coaching I could. My freshman year of college at Arizona State, my parents bought a home in Phoenix on South Mountain so that they could make sure to be at every game I played. In fact, during college, my parents only missed four games. That was including away games as well!

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#Forkem

 

All the way up to pro ball currently, my mom has flown all over the country to support me whenever I was on the mound. She is not just there for the games though. When I found out I need Tommy John surgery back in 2012, she was the first person to book a flight and a hotel so she could be there with my through the surgery. In fact, my mom actually sent me and my girlfriend (to ensure I actually do it) this ‘secret’ remedy to help my elbow get better. I can’t reveal the secret, but I can tell you it is absolutely nasty. Mom knows best though!

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Springfield!

On the field and away from the field I can always count on my mom. One of my favorite things about her is her home-cooked meals. Her cooking is awesome and something I definitely have a hard time parting with whenever she leaves. The only time I don’t see much of her is when I’m in the deer woods. I am still trying to convert her to being a hunter, mostly so I can have some good cooking when I am out hunting…

With all this said I want to say Happy Mother’s Day Mom, thank you and I love you!

The past couple of weeks my arm has been feeling solid and I feel like I am getting closer everyday. Honestly, my arm is feeling better than it did when I was healthy, so no complaints here! The surgery is about a 12-16 month recovery stage and I am on that track. Being on this recovery has really made me appreciate everything I once had when it came to baseball and has really shown me to never overlook a single day when I am back on the mound.

 In a future blog, I might have a new grip to teach everyone. I have had plenty of time to watch baseball in the last month and I think a tough pitch to hit is the cutter. I have been fooling around with it and might try it next time I face hitters.

Kept the blog a bit shorter this week but as always God Bless and follow on Twitter @jordanswagerty

Pitching Lesson (and DisneyWorld)

Hey everyone back again and I think you will like the post this week. I am getting closer to being back in games so I have decided to give you a little bit of insight on myself and take you behind the scenes to let you see how I make my pitches do what they do and maybe even teach the younger guys a grip or two if you’re lucky! The other subject of discussion is one of my dreams came true last off day. I had my first trip to DisneyWorld and I will say it lived up to its expectations. We all had a ton of fun!

Back to the good stuff… Pitching. Anyone who knows me or has seen me play knows I am a high intensity player. I love flying out of the bullpen in the later innings with the music playing, knowing I have to get the last three outs in a tough game. I love the adrenaline rush and I love seeing fans in the seats and going out there to do my job. With all of that said, if you can’t throw strikes or have quality pitches, it really will be tough to get outs in any league, whether it’s high school or pro ball.

 

One thing I will start with for the young players and everyone reading is learn your pitches and get comfortable with them in any situation. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 2-0 count or a 0-2 count , bases loaded or no one on, you have to know you can throw all of your pitches in that situation.

I’ll start with my four-seam fastball. This as well as the two-seam has got to be a go-to pitch and you have to be able to throw it at anytime. The four-seam will be a straighter pitch and should be the harder of my two fastballs. You can use this to get inside on a lefty’s hands as a right-handed pitcher or throw it up in the zone to blow it by someone. To go along with that I use a two-seam fastball as well. This may be a mile or two slower than the four-seam and I’m trying to get the ball to sink when I throw it, working on getting ground balls or quick outs. The less pitches you can throw in a inning or to each hitter, the longer you can stay in games. At the end of the day you don’t want to be pulled with a high pitch count early in the game consistently. You may not be the bullpen’s favorite!

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4-seam fastball grip

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Two-seam fastball grip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next let get into a little bit of the off-speed game and to be honest it is one of my favorites. This is where a young pitcher can really shine, being able to throw off-speed pitches for strikes. I throw a spike slider/curveball depending on the speed. I have found this grip is easy to control and really does have sharp movement. It will be harder than your traditional curveball and for myself it really is deceptive and comes out looking like a fastball. I grip on a different set of seams than most but you should play around with the grip and see what works best for you.

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Slider grip

 

The last pitch and for real young guys the first off-speed pitch you should learn is the change-up. I throw a circle change that is gripped exactly how it sounds. This is one of the most deceptive pitches in baseball and I think it is overlooked at the upper levels. It comes out looking exactly like a fastball but is 6-10 miles an hour slower which is a ton. If you can master this pitch you will notice a big difference throwing it in fastball counts which are typically counts where you are behind. Feel free to ask me questions in the comments below if you have anything you want to know.

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Changeup grip

 

Okay onto a little bit of a different subject: Disneyworld! What a trip! All done in one day. Literally woke up at 6 am and hit the road and pulled back in around 10pm. I had never been there and really had no idea what to expect. My sister SaraBeth, girlfriend Guin, and buddy and also fellow-TJ rehabber Jay Voss all packed it in the car and made the trip with me.

 

We started off at Magic Kingdom for Guin. Of course she loves all Disney movies, and we took pics in front of the castle, saw a performance, rode Space Mountain and had a coke float which was unreal because I was at Disneyworld. A side note: don’t hold your hands up on Space Mountain. It does get a little sketchy haha (low ceilings)… Next we were off to Animal Kingdom for Jay. All the guy could talk about for days is the animal safari! We saw so many cool animals, did the River Rapids and the Everest expedition. It had been a long day by this point so we went to Asia and grabbed some food from the locals which was unreal.

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Where dreams come true!

 

After we had a late lunch it was on to Hollywood to see if we were movie stars. We all got caught in a sketchy elevator at some Hollywood hotel which they call the Hollywood Tower of Terror. Turned out to be the best part of my day. We all rode it but Jay Voss got a bit scared and sat it out and viewed it from ground level. At the end of the day we all had a great day I left with a new coffee mug for the field and many memories I will always cherish. If you have never been there you have to check it out. You won’t regret it. I did forget one big part. It was raining the whole time so we did get a bit wet!

 

Mother’s Day is coming up soon everyone! I will be writing my next blog on my mother which means a lot to me so make sure in check in next week! Hope everyone has a good week. Check me out on twitter @jordanswagerty God bless!