Today at Tradition Field, MetsBlog’s Michael Baron had a chance to chat with Mets reliever Scott Atchison about his pitch repertoire and the injury he dealt with last season:
Michael Baron: Last year, you had an elbow injury, and it seemed like Tommy John surgery was looming, but you didn’t have it. Why did you not need surgery on the ligament?
Scott Atchison: We didn’t want to rush into anything, so I went down and saw Dr. [James] Andrews and explained everything that had happened. The biggest thing for him was that nothing happened on one pitch. I didn’t feel something on one pitch where I felt a pop or I felt anything go. We looked over the MRIs and results and he did an evaluation with me. He said that I had a tear that had shown up on previous MRIs and it might have gotten a little bigger than it was, but since I didn’t feel it on one pitch, it easily could have been something that I was pitching with for a year, a month, a week, whatever. There’s really no way to truly tell, I guess, but he said that in my situation, he would try to rest it and come back and see. We did that, took three weeks off from throwing, worked back through a throwing program, and everything and was able to go again in the middle of September. Felt good, didn’t have any problems, no issues, results were good, and more importantly than the results was that my stuff was the same as it was before. Hopefully, I’ve avoided it and can keep going, and I haven’t had any programs this year getting started back up. I don’t foresee any, but it’s baseball and you never know.
Michael Baron: Is there anything you can mechanically to limit your risk of re-injuring yourself?
Scott Atchison: I’m not changing anything. I think that’s the biggest thing is trying not compensate for it, because then you bring up all kinds of other issues. I need to trust that it’s okay, and that fatigue, or something else that caused it to act up, that once we got that calmed back down, it wasn’t a problem. I feel like I’m doing everything the same as before and going along like normal.
Michael Baron: Last year, you had an impressive line and I noticed you threw more sliders. In fact, more than 50% of your pitches were sliders. Is there a reason for that?
Scott Atchison: It’s more of a cutter than it is a slider. I think that’s why the percentages have gone up the last few years. It’s something I originally, back earlier in my career, threw a slider. I didn’t really like it so much, so I fiddled with it. In my second year in Japan, I got a real good feel for what I was doing with it and able to change it a little bit. So last year, I may have thrown a few more I don’t know much different it was really than the two years before that. It’s a pitch for me that I’ve been able to use to get some ground balls and get me out of some jams in times where I want to throw something different in a fastball count. That’s become a good pitch for me, especially against left handers. It’s given me a weapon to use against them.