Braboy Coming Back

Braboy is already throwing off of the mound

It was just two years ago that right-handed reliever Brandon Braboy was turning some heads with his mid-to-high-90s fastball and excellent changeup, but he missed most of the 2010 season after having two hip labrum surgeries. He was really close to coming back last year but fell victim to Tommy John surgery and now he's close to making a full comeback bid.

"Everything is going good," he said. "I had Tommy John surgery in April. My elbow was pretty messed up when I was trying to pitch with it when I was hurt with the hip situation.

"[Rehab coordinator, Mark] Littlefield set me up with kind of an accelerated program so I could be ready for Spring Training and I think I'm on track to be ready for Spring Training. I'll see when I get down there but my arm's feeling really well. I haven't had any setbacks and it really feels good."

He was pitching well in Spring Training last year in his comeback bid from the two hip labrum surgeries in 2010, but he quickly found out that pitching on a sore hip put too much stress on his arm by the end of camp.

"I was coming back from the hip injury in Spring Training and I was actually going to break camp with Tampa, but I had to tell them that the last time I pitched that my arm was really bothering me," he recounted.

"I had it checked out and went to see [Dr.] Andrews, and I had a small tear. It happened to me just pitching when my hips were hurt. I overcompensated and wound up hurting my arm."

His comeback bid a year ago was over really before it officially started and he had Tommy John surgery on April 12th.

"I was devastated," he admitted. "I was really devastated but there wasn't a whole lot I could do about it. I could either quit or rehab it hard and see if I can come back. I really worked hard at it and I feel like I'm really going to be ready for Spring Training.

"Even though Spring Training is the goal, if I'm not ready for Spring Training hopefully I'll be ready for the season so I can get a lot of innings in. That's what is most important."

Already passed the long-tossing stage of his rehab program, while he is set to report to the minor league complex on Sunday, he has already begun throwing off of the mound.

"I'm back on the mound," he revealed. "I'm actually throwing three bullpens this week of 35 pitches of fastballs and changeups. I'm doing the rehab a little early. I'm at ten months [out] and Andrew said it takes like 12-14 months but Littlefield told me everybody's different.

"Some people come back quicker, some take longer, but Littlefield set me up on a program that was a little bit accelerated so I could be ready for Spring Training. Right now I'm right where everybody else is at, 35 pitches with fastball-changeup off the mound."

His fastball and changeup, both plus pitches for him, were never the problem though. His biggest issue when he was healthy was further developing his slider into a consistent strikeout pitch and he says he has even started working on that recently.

"I've been working on it pretty hard here the last month," he said. "I have tightened up a little bit. It feels good. The thing that I'm happy about is my arm is healthy right now so I can really get out there and work on it, and be aggressive with it.

"I can finish out in front and not worry about my elbow hurting. I have worked on it and I'm hoping to see improvement on it this season."

While nobody wants to have Tommy John surgery and Braboy would be the first to admit it, he does think there was a benefit involved to getting it when he did.

"Even though I didn't really want to have [Tommy John surgery], I think it really did help as far as my hips," he said. "As long as I don't have any setbacks and my arm keeps getting stronger I should be ready to pitch this season.

"I feel confident that I'll be ready to break camp [with a team] but that will be up to them. I'll be eleven months after surgery and we'll have to see how my arm responds in a game too, that will be a big test."

He knew his arm was hurting when he was pitching last Spring Training but didn't know he was doing any damage to his arm as he overcompensated by throwing just with his arm while dealing with the sore hip, he says he doesn't plan on making the same mistake twice.

But considering he no longer has any pain in either of his hips or in his arm, he can't help but feel pretty good after enduring all of his procedures over the past two years.

"For having three surgeries and that short time period I really do feel good right now because the only good thing about having that Tommy John surgery was that I was really able to get my hips back underneath me. Overall my body really does feel really good right now and each week my arm has been getting stronger."

With his eyes set towards returning to game action at some point this spring, Braboy is very close to making a full return.

"I'm really excited. It doesn't matter where I'm at this year, I just really want to pitch. I just want to get some innings and show [the Yankees] that I can still do this.

"They've held on to me through these injuries and I've worked really hard, I just want to pitch in some games really. That's all I'm worried about."

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