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The Comeback Kid

The Comeback Kid
June 3, 2009
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Left-handed pitcher Chuck Lofgren is having a sensational season and has been one of the best comeback stories of the year in minor league baseball.

Just a year ago Lofgren came into the 2008 season ranked as a top five prospect in the Indians system in virtually every publication that ranks prospects, but a season last year that affected him mentally, emotionally, and physically saw him tumble out of most of those top prospect listings coming into this season. Last year at Double-A Akron he went 2-6 with a 5.99 ERA in 28 games (15 starts), and in 85.2 innings allowed a whopping 93 hits and 52 walks while striking out 72 batters.

Lofgren dedicated himself this past offseason to getting himself in better shape and dropped about 15 pounds in the process. He also got some great news as his mother had survived a bout with breast cancer. With the physical, mental, and emotional things that affected his 2008 season seemingly under control going into spring training this year, he looked primed for a big comeback.

So far, he has comeback in a big way. In eight starts in a return trip to Akron this year he was 3-1 with a 1.48 ERA before getting the callup to Triple-A Columbus this past weekend. At Akron, he held opposing batters to a .160 batting average and had a much better 15-to-31 walk to strikeout ratio in his 42.2 innings pitched than in 2008. He was also leading the Eastern League in ERA. In his first start with Columbus on Sunday he lasted just four innings and allowed five hits, four runs, three walks and had one strikeout.

The numbers speak for themselves to date, and his mental health and improved physical state are a big reason for his great start.

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