Sturdevant is focused and ready for a return to form
After putting up some fantastic numbers during the 2011 season in the Indians minor league system, Double-A Akron Aeros right-handed pitcher Tyler Sturdevant had evolved into a legitimate major league relief pitching prospect. But he was set back by a shoulder injury early this year.
Though he has been on the shelf most of this season, Sturdevant is focused and ready to return to form in 2012.
Last season, Sturdevant worked his way through the minor league system, appearing at High-A Kinston and Akron before finishing the year with two games at Triple-A Columbus. He put up some gaudy numbers in 42 appearances throughout the year, posting a record of 7-3, a 2.65 ERA, striking out 82 batters and walking only 19.
There were high hopes entering the 2012 campaign, but a shoulder injury derailed his season until he made his debut for High-A Carolina this year on June 5th.
“During spring training, after my first intersquad outing, the shoulder started bothering me a little bit," Sturdevant said. "It wasn’t really anything that I hadn’t dealt with before, but it kind of stuck with me and got a little more intense throughout spring training, so that’s when I decided to shut it down. It wasn’t horrible, but I wanted to play it safe.”
Coming back from the injury, Sturdevant’s plan for the remainder of the season is simple; get back into shape.
“My aim is to go as many innings as possible, try to see a lot of hitters and really work on arm strength throughout the rest of the season to perfect my pitches,” he said. “You’re always working on something, always improving, it doesn’t matter where. I’m just trying to hone in on some mechanical things and pitches for the end of the season.”
Sturdevant says his shoulder feels “fantastic” when he’s out on the mound, and that he is also doing a throwing program in an effort to help the recovery move along more quickly.
“The shoulder feels great," Sturdevant remarked. "I’m just trying to get my arm back in shape so I can put myself in a better spot towards the end of the year."
As Sturdevant progresses through the rest of the season, Aeros pitching coach Tony Arnold said he is looking for the same things from Sturdevant as he was before the injury.
“We want him to go out and develop himself into a major league pitcher, get back on track, and that’s exactly what he was doing before he was shut down,” Arnold said. “Any time you have the quality of person and pitcher that Tyler is, he’s a great asset to the team, and you want him back as soon as you can get him.”
As for his routine, Sturdevant said he hasn’t changed anything, nor does he have any plans to.
“It’s the same for me every year," Sturdevant said. "Pitches, watching hitters, and trying to pull in situations that I get myself into, or watching my other teammates and learning from them."
“I’m just really happy to in Akron and playing again."
The feeling is definitely mutual.