Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Ben Sheets’s Comeback Continues: Sheets Wins Again

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Today, July 21, 2012, was the day for Ben Sheets’s second major league start for the Atlanta Braves against the Washington Nationals.  And once again, Sheets pitched like the ace he once was (and apparently is again), giving up no runs, five hits, three walks, and six strikeouts.  Sheets also extended his scoreless innings streak to twelve; his record is now 2-0.

Here’s a link to a very good story from Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about Sheets that was written prior to today’s game; this is a story you really want to read if you care about baseball at all, as it references exactly what happened to Sheets and why it is so remarkable that he’s been able to come back at all — much less pitch at an astonishingly high level.

Here’s a quote from that story:

Understand, this isn’t a simple comeback. Before surgery in 2010, Sheets’ right elbow looked like the after-shot of Kabul. The guy is relatively bionic. In 2010, doctors knew surgery was needed to fix a torn flexor tendon for the second time in two years. But when Dr. Keith Meister opened up the right arm, two other problems were confirmed: 1) a torn ulnar collateral ligament, requiring Tommy John surgery; 2) damage to his pronator tendon.

You don’t need to have a Ph.D or even excel in the “Operation” game to know that if a 32-year-old pitcher is having a ligament and two tendons in his throwing elbow stitched, tied and duct-taped, his next career decision likely would involve either starting a tractor or coaching youth baseball (he opted for the latter).

And here’s a quote from today’s story at Yahoo Sports regarding Sheets’s start against the Nationals, starring Braves catcher Brian McCann:

”It’s been a huge pickup for us,” McCann said of adding Sheets to Braves rotation. ”To come out here for his two starts and pitch the way he has. Hasn’t given up a run, he’s pounding the zone and the more you’re around him the more you know why he’s so successful. He’s a competitor, he knows what he’s doing.”

When a team’s catcher is happy with a pitcher — much less this happy — you usually have a happy team.  And considering how well Sheets has pitched since his return, I’d be astonished if the Braves weren’t absolutely ecstatic about his contribution to their ballclub.

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 21, 2012 at 7:25 pm

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