Wait And See Approach With Horne

Horne is finally done with the rehab process

With some pretty ugly overall numbers in 2009, the road back from shoulder surgery has been a long one indeed for Alan Horne. While he was encouraged with the way he improved his endurance by season's end last year, he knows all too well that it will be a wait and see approach with how his shoulder holds up in 2010.

"You know how shoulder surgeries are," Alan Horne said. "Hopefully I'll continue to get stronger. I feel pretty good right now. Right now it's going to be a wait and see thing to see if my shoulder holds up or not.

"It's not the same thing as having your elbow done. Your arm is just different when you come back from a shoulder surgery, no matter how major or minor it is."

The lucky part for Horne is his shoulder surgery in 2008 was considered to be on the minor side, but he still had to endure a rocky transition back to the mound during his rehab last season.

While it wasn't a major repair, it has taken him some time to get his functionality back and he went just a combined 4-4 with a 5.69 ERA over three minor league levels in 2009.

"I threw the ball pretty well the last month to month and a half last season," he said. "I had one kind of rocky start in there but made some good starts in the GCL. I threw three starts in Charleston that were for the most part pretty good.

"I had a couple of rocky stretches but I got over 100 pitches for my last two starts for the first time in three years, going back to '07. I definitely thought that was a good sign."

Even though his velocity never really rose above the 88-91 mph range, he was happy with how well he maintained his velocity each game, never really seeing any major decreases. He was also encouraged by how well his breaking pitches were moving too.

Rehabbing his injured shoulder through most of 2008 before succumbing to shoulder surgery and then having to spend all of last year rehabbing his way back from that, Horne finally got some much needed rest this offseason.

"I took a longer break from this fall just because I was running on about two years straight with no break on my shoulder," he revealed. "It was definitely time for my body and shoulder to have a break."

Not scheduled to report to the minor league complex until February 22nd, the right-hander, who is officially done with the rehab process, has been long-tossing since mid-December and has even started throwing off of a mound in the hopes of getting off to a strong start in 2010.

"In a way I'm taking it easy but in another way I'm trying to push it to make sure I'm strong and ready to go in Spring Training," he said. "I want to be as close to game speed as I can when I get there."

He's hoping the struggles he endured the last two years will finally pay off with a bounce-back to his 2007 form this upcoming season, but he is also the first one to admit there are still a lot of unknowns at this point.

"We'll just have to see how it's going to go. I've done my job getting it strong through the rehab and now it's just going to be a physical thing to see how that repair is going to hold up for me.

"So far it's as good as to be expected and I continue to make progress everyday. From talking to people, you kind of pick that velocity up after your first offseason after the rehab.

"You battle through the rehab and then your first year, and then that downtime is huge coming back into the second season. Hopefully that will be the difference-maker," he concluded.

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