With just 27 professional innings under his belt after being selected in the 4th round of the 2005…
Pendleton Starts Throwing Again
"It feels real good, real strong, the shoulder feels real good, my mechanics - I hear when you come back from Tommy John a lot of times people will have to re-learn how to throw the ball. And it was funny at first, for the first five throws or so, but after that it felt pretty good."
Pendleton is throwing off of flat surfaces right now from 60-feet, the first step in the Tommy John rehab process. If all goes well, the plan is to bump him up to 90-feet in October.
"I don't even know," Pendleton said as to when he'll move up to 90 or 120-feet in his rehab process. "I know throughout October I'll hit 90-feet and then maybe at the end of October I'll get to 120. I don't know though, it has a lot to do with how I feel, how my elbow feels. I think by the end of November I will be at 120 [feet] and then I think I'll take the month of December off. That's still up in the air."
There is no set timetable for a return from Tommy John surgery. It all depends on the delicate balance of one's health and arm strength. But if Pendleton's rehab goes according to plan, he could start throwing bullpens off of a rehab mound [shorter than an actual mound] prior to the start of Spring Training and perhaps even face live batters in Spring Training.
"I hope so," Pendleton said if he still thinks he can be ready by Spring Training next year. "If not 100 percent in Spring Training, but maybe throwing to hitters. From what I learned now, you can't really make those decisions right now."
"You can hope for the best for those things and you can work hard, and that'd be great, but if it doesn't happen, it's a long season and I realize that," Pendleton said in a cautious tone. "So I'm just taking care of what I'm doing now and do everything I can now to get back. I'm going to try to [get back for Spring Training], but I can't say yes or no to 100 percent."
Taking a patient approach in the throwing portion of his rehab process, Pendleton has intensified the other aspects of his rehab. Steadfast in his goal to be in the best possible shape upon his return, he has hit the gym hard.
"A lot of the shoulders with my arm-wise, doing arm exercise programs and shoulder work," he listed as activities in his rehab process. "I'm really just focusing on trying to get stronger, mainly my lower half, and getting my upper body stronger like it was before. But I'm really pushing it hard in the weight room, trying to achieve something maybe I couldn't do if I was playing right now. Strength goes a long ways."
The plan for the remainder of the offseason is to have him remain at the minor league complex throughout the winter, an idea that Pendleton has fully embraced.
"Yeah," he said if the plan was to remain rehabbing at the minor league complex throughout the offseason. "They came to me and asked if that would be alright. I had one class left to graduate and told them I'd really like to take a class so I can graduate in December so I can get that out of the way. They said no problem if you can find one out here, let's do that."
"This is the best place for me to be to rehab. You have no distractions," Pendleton continued. "I've got friends out here but you can't miss the fields when you're out here. The plan is to stay here and I'm really excited about it."
But while taking a class to fulfill his college degree and the work he's doing in his rehab process should be enough of a distraction, Pendleton has found it hard watching the pitching prospects at Instructs this year in one respect, but it has also been a source of inspiration.
"Yeah, it's real tough," he said if watching the pitchers throw in Instructs makes him want to pitch more right now. "For the past five months, I kind of stayed away from the fields, especially the first four months. I didn't even go on the field once. You don't forget it but it's not in your face there everyday."
"Now that it's Instructs, you definitely remember what you're missing," he concluded. "But it's good, it gives you something to get excited about and something to look forward to. It gives you something to work that little bit harder and concentrate a little bit more."
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