Friday, February 27, 2009

Dark Horse Candidate


Many seem to have forgotten about Ryan Wagner. When you haven't pitched a Major League Game in 18 months, that tends to happen. Yet this former First Round Pick out of The University Of Houston says he's ready to go again. In fact, he has not been this excited about baseball for a while. You could see it in his face, in his expressions and in his ability shown on the mound. Whether throwing his fastball, sinker or slider--Ryan says he's got his command and control back. Fully recovered from a labrum tear in his right shoulder, Ryan Wagner wants everyone to know that he looking to be an integral part of Our Washington Nationals 2009 Bullpen.

I know your recovery has been long and there have been some ups and down. How is everything going these days? (SBF)

“Absolutely outstanding. I am 100% ready to go!”

Really? Last year, when you first came back, you seemed to have lost your velocity? SBF

“Yes, that’s true but that’s pretty normal. I was trying to build back arm strength. My velocity is back. All my pitches are back; even the movements on all those pitches are back. I am feeling really confident.”

How tough was it for you sitting on the side for the last two years? (SBF)

“Extremely tough, sometimes you wonder whether you should keep trying when the recovery is not going as fast as you would like. You want to get out there, and not only just earn a paycheck, but help the team. I was unable to help the team and that became frustrating.”

Did you get to the point where you thought maybe you would never comeback? (SBF)

“Yes, of course. Anytime you go through a major surgery, especially shoulder surgery, there is always that chance, even if it’s in the back of your mind, not only just getting back to your old self, but pitching again.”

I remember reading that your operation was fairly long—a couple of hours because the damage was so bad? (SBF)

“Yeah, it was. It was longer then we (Ryan & his Doctor) expected. But that was the start of recovery and this is now—the finish and I feel good. I am 100% ready to throw in games. In fact, I am ready for the season right now. I can’t wait to go (to the mound).”

When we first met two years ago—I mentioned to you that you appear to deliver your pitches with increased pressure on your elbow and you told me that’s the way you have always pitched. Then a short time later you were injured and I felt I sort of jinxed you? (SBF)

“No, my injury was some time coming. I really had not felt good the last couple of years. It had got to the point where I really could not do my job anymore and perform the way I wanted to. When we had it checked out, we knew surgery was needed and I just went ahead and got it done so I could move forward again. God Willing, everything turned out great.”

You seem really confident that you are not only ready, but can be a solid contributor to this Major League Team—this year? (SBF)

“I have no doubt that I am 100% recovered.”

This team does need bullpen help. (SBF)

“Yes, we do. Getting me back to the old me is the key. I still trust my stuff--what I can do and what I have done in the past.”

Did you change your delivery at all in your recovery? (SBF)

“No. Absolutely not. If you start changing who you are, you start changing your pitches or start changing what you use to be and how you got to where you were in The Big Leagues—then you will never be that same person again. If I had to change who I was—then I would have never comeback. That would not be worth all the time and effort.

That’s really encouraging to hear—especially since you are sort of flying under the radar right now? (SBF)

“Well, I have been out for the last year and a half. Sometimes people forget who you are and what you could do before. I am flying under the radar, but I think I like that.”

Dark Horse Candidate. (SBF)

“Yeah. I like that too.” (Smiling Broadly)

Ryan Wagner--officially now--Dark Horse Candidate, confidently looking to be an integral part of Our Washington Nationals 2009 Bullpen. He is a very good developing story--worth following.

6 comments:

nova_g_man said...

I have just discovered your blog, and I appreciate the reporting so very much. You paint the pictures so well with both photos and words. So thanks a lot!

The bumping incident with Adam was interesting. Do you know of Scott Olsen's problems with Cabrera while both were Marlins? Any chance that Scott gave Adam a heads up regarding Cabrera that influenced Adam's attitude, his waiting for an apology?

Screech's Best Friend said...

Nov_g_man--Thanks. That's an interesting observation about Olsen and Cabrera. we will ask them when we see both next.

Softball Girl said...

what bumping incident?

nova_g_man said...

Softball Girl:

This one:
Adam Dunn collided with Miguel Cabrera at first base in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Cabrera--not the most deft player with his footwork around the bag--was in the wrong position while recording the out at first base. Dunn was looking for an apology--and didn't get one for some time. Until finally--while Adam kept standing near the first base coaching box asking if "EVERYTHING ALL RIGHT?" Cabrera finally turned around and almost curtly nodded his head up and waved his glove hand at Adam in saying "Sorry". This interesting moment had the brief feeling of little tussle breaking out at the Spring Home Opener. Thankfully that was averted.

Olsen had trouble with Miguel Cabrera with the Marlins. He'll be pitching to Cabrera early in the season quite a bit. I was wondering if Dunn was having trouble with Cabrera as well.

I'm hoping that Olsen starts against Philadelphia at the beginning of the season, not Florida opening day. He despises the Phillies, had trouble with Utley, and his batterymate, Flores, was injured by Utley, so there ia a lot going on there.

But he will face Florida early as well. so the Cabrera thing will be on everyone's mind, perhaps Dunn's as well.

Anonymous said...

Cabrera plays for Detroit.

Berndaddy said...

SBF and Sohna

I love your blog. Keep up the goods. We'll keep reading, thanks!!!