Myles remains positive despite struggles in return from injury
Less than two months ago High-A Carolina left fielder Bryson Myles could barely brush his teeth. He’d dove for a ball at Harry Grove Stadium and landed the wrong way, leading to a painful shoulder subluxation—his shoulder dislocated then popped back in.
Five weeks later, the Texas native has returned to the field rested and healed and is building up his strength.
“Throwing will come with time, and working with the trainer has been great,” Myles said. “I’m just trying to get back to 100 percent like it was before.”
Myles is batting .229 since his return to the field on June 11. He has four home runs, 17 RBIs and five stolen bases this season. Myles was ranked 11th in Carolina League Batting rankings in April before his injury. It will take some time for him to return to his spring level of play, but when he does, he should be a major contributor to the Mudcats offense.
“Bryson’s a guy who’s missed some time and that’s kind of slowed him down a little bit, but he’s a guy who can really impact a game with his bat and his speed,” manager David Wallace said. “He’s getting better and better as far as recognizing pitches and laying off of tough pitches and stuff that is out of his zone.”
Myles was drafted in 2011 in the sixth round out of Stephen F. Austin College in Nacogdoches, Texas, north of Houston. He spent that season in Mahoning Valley and joined Lake County in 2012. This is his first season with Carolina, and he’s learned to adjust to the level of pitching at the advanced-A level.
“It’s tough—you really have to learn to make adjustments very very fast from pitch to pitch and from at-bat to at-bat,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff I was able to get away with at lower levels that isn’t possible now. But it’s making me a better player.”
He’s been working with hitting coach Rouglas Odor to move away from a “pull-happy” mentality that’s plagued him since returning to the plate. Myles said he was pulling off everything, which prevented him from getting to the outside pitch, whether it was a slider or a fastball.
“In the past two weeks I’ve been working with Odor and he’s really helped me focus on the middle, the right center of the gap, and I’ve really started to stick with it,” he said. “It’s really started to help. I can still pull the ball but now I’m actually starting to drive the ball to all parts of the field, rather than rolling over pitches or only being able to hit the ball down the left field line. I think if I can continue to stick with that and work on that pitch to pitch it’s going to bring a lot of success.”
Myles wasn’t always set on a professional baseball career. He was recruited to play football at TCU and spent high school playing for both teams.
“I think in high school I loved football more, but I think I was better in baseball,” Myles said. “I’ve been playing strictly baseball for five years now and I’ve definitely learned to love the game of baseball.”
He’s adapted a pregame ritual that’s more suited to the pace of baseball as opposed to the aggression of football: a shower and a nap.
“I kind of had that football mentality that’s really ‘go and get ‘em,’ but in baseball you have to take a step back,” Myles said. “Every game I try to take a nap to calm me down and then take a shower to calm me down even more.”
With the right mindset and a successful return from his injury, Myles aims to contribute to the Mudcats second half and continue to work on his skills, despite any struggles at-bat.
“I’ve learned a ton so far this season as far as struggling but that doesn’t deter me from coming to the field everyday,” he said. “I want to continue to make the strides that I’ve made over the course of the season and to continue to stay healthy—I feel like that’s the number one thing. I can’t progress at all if I’m not playing.”
Despite injury, he’s enjoyed his first season with the Mudcats and his teammates, many of whom he’s played with since Mahoning Valley.
“Win or lose, we’re going to have a good time,” Myles said. “We’re going to to smile, we’re going to joke around and a lot of the guys on the team I feel like I’m going to talk to, and be friends with for the rest of my life. That’s really the best part of the team.”