Power reliever Conor Mullee missed the entire 2011 season after receiving Tommy John surgery and…
Mullee Back On The Mound
There's no doubt that his athleticism and commitment attributed to his speedy recovery after a detrimental injury to his elbow put his success on hold last season. Not even a year out of Tommy John Surgery, a healthy Mullee is back on the mound.
"It felt good, it felt really good," Mullee said of his game day debut against the Cyclones. "I missed all of last year cause I got hurt during Spring Training last year. But it just felt so good to be out there competing again, you know. It felt good to face hitters in a real game and to actually have a stat line.
"I pitched in the GCL my first year where there's no fans at all, you know. And then to come out here my first game back it was really exciting," Mullee added. "My parents came up. So I guess there were a little bit of nerves, but mostly I just felt confident about it. I felt really good about it."
Staten Island Yankees pitching coach Carlos Chantres claims that Mullee's positive demeanor has everything to do with his return.
"He's a good kid. He's extremely positive. I don't think there is a negative bone in his body," Chantres laughed. "He likes to have fun and wants to pitch and get to the big leagues."
Mullee admits he was disappointed at the time, but he's ready to put the past behind him and focus on this season.
"Yeah, I mean, it was disappointing," Mullee shrugged. "I tried to rehab my way back for a couple of months before I got surgery. But it's one of those things, you know, it happens, it's part of the game. I'm just trying to look forward from here and not look back.
"I started throwing bullpens around February. I was slow at first," Mullee added. "You know, they took me real slow. But I finally started facing hitters about three weeks ago and I got my first inning the other day and I'm fully back now."
Picking up where he left off pre-surgery, Mullee is currently working on improving his slider.
"I throw a slider and a changeup," Mullee said of his secondary pitches as of late. "My slider is actually coming along pretty nicely. I was a converted shortstop out of college to a pitcher so it took me a while to get that down. But it's really coming along."
Although the velocity to his fastball isn't quite where it was before the surgery, his mechanics are keeping it alive.
"Real good, real good," Staten Island Yankees manager Justin Pope commented of Mullee's first competitive inning pitched. "He was pounding the strike zone, had some zip on his fast ball, [and his] breaking ball looked good."
Coach Chantres has confidence in Mullee's improvements to his fastball after Tommy John, and trusts that his power will return.
"He was injured, and he got to us late [during Extended Spring Training] cause he was on a rehab from Tommy John," Chantres said. "But when he was throwing the bullpens, what I saw was really good; better arm angle, better life to his fastball, and he's really got much better.
"His slider has gotten better. His fastball commands - the kid throws strikes. His velocity isn't where it was one or two years ago, but not even a year at out Tommy John and he looks pretty good," Chantres added. "I think it's going to take time since he just got out, but that power is going to be there."
Although his health is back and he is making rapid strides forward, Mullee seems to be on the same page as the coaching staff in terms of the importance of taking things slow.
"I would say he is going through a little bit of therapy [still], because we are taking him slow and trying to protect his arm," Chantres said. "As the season goes on we will let him throw a little more. But right now we are taking it slow."
"Mt first couple outings will be one inning at a time, and then we will take it from there. We are still moving pretty slow," Mullee reiterated.
Everyone agrees that staying healthy and getting increased experience on the mound is the focus of Mullee's improvements moving forward.
"The biggest thing [moving forward] is to stay healthy, where he can go out there every two to three days and give us an inning or two and just stay healthy," Chantres said.
"Get his strength back, get his confidence up," Pope added. "Get a feel for being on the mound again for all his pitches. Really just getting out there and gaining his confidence."
"Moving forward, you know, getting more innings on the mound, getting more experience, and really getting back into the feel of throwing every couple of games," Mullee concluded.
PinstripesPlus.com Recommended Stories
Rivalry Week on Scout
Build yourself a sky-high left-over turkey sandwich, cover it in a creamy sauce of hate, and get ready to scream!Read More
Sherman gets best of Kaepernick, Roman
Richard Sherman intercepted Colin Kaepernick twice Thursday in his the Seahawks' dominating win, and had a few things to say about it. Surprise, surprise. Could Thursday's performance lead to a…Read More
Outdoorsman's Gift Guide: Christmas 2014
Finding just the right present for that special someone can be a challenge, so we’ve compiled a wide variety of hunting, fishing and outdoor gifts that you—or Santa—can deliver this Christmas.Read More
Gains in Wheeled Combat Vehicles Closing Gaps
Do advances in wheeled combat vehicles signal that they can now deliver the same mobility as tracked systems in deep mud or sand dunes?Read More
Out, the New Star Wars Trailer Is!
If you don't get goosebumps when the John Williams score kicks in, the force is most likely not with you.Read More