Mullee Not Ready To Give Up Yet

Mullee had his surgery nearly 8 weeks ago

Power reliever Conor Mullee missed the entire 2011 season after receiving Tommy John surgery and seemed to be well on his way back this year early in the Staten Island season when his comeback bid ended quite abruptly. However, while things are still up in the air now, he says he's not ready to give up just yet.

He had pitched well in Extended Spring Training and then again once the Staten Island season began, posting a solid 3.60 ERA through his first five appearances and allowing just four base runners in his five innings of work.

"I felt good," he said of his initial comeback. "It was nice to get back out there. My command was pretty good. I didn't feel like it was all the way back from where it was my first year, but I felt good.

"My velocity wasn't quite back. I was throwing anywhere from 88-92 mph. I got it up to 94 mph a couple of times, but mostly 90-91 mph. I felt good though. I felt strong. I was pretty excited about it but it didn't last too long."

It didn't last long at all. On July 6th in a game against the Jamestown Jammers he exited the field after throwing his very first pitch -- and ultimately it wound up being his last pitch too.

"It was in my sixth inning of work, I warmed up and everything felt fine," he recounted. "I got into the game, threw my eight warm-up pitches, and then I went to throw my first fastball of the inning and I just felt a pop in my elbow.

"I knew right away something had happened. I thought that it was the ligament again but apparently a piece of the bone fractured off of the elbow where they did the Tommy John surgery originally. They had to go back in and put a screw into the bone to fix it."

While it was widely speculated at the time that he would need another Tommy John surgery, the fact is he had an avulsion fracture of his elbow where they had to put a screw in the bone and put the ligament and bone back in place.

"It was really upsetting because I knew it wasn't going to be good," Mullee said. "I waved at Carlos [Chantres] to come out on the field right away because I knew there was no way I was going to be able to throw another pitch.

"I was pretty upset there for the next couple of days but you have to keep moving on, keep looking forward."

He had the surgery two weeks after sustaining the injury and while he didn't have Tommy John surgery, he is attacking his rehab program in similar fashion just because of the unique nature of the injury.

"Apparently it only happens -- Dr. Andrews said it's only happened one in 400 or 500 guys who get Tommy John surgery," he said. "I think he's said he's only seen it six times or something like that, maybe less.

"There's a lot of question marks because they haven't seen this very often. It could take post-surgery from anywhere from three months to six months before you start throwing again.

"I'm rehabbing it pretty much the same way you'd rehab Tommy John but I got an x-ray the other day and I'm waiting on the results. It's still pretty stiff.

"It's more stiff than it was after the TJ [surgery]. I think right now there's just a lot of questions marks. I'm going to keep going with it right now but we'll see what happens."

Now a little bit past the eight week mark after his surgery, the best case scenario has him able to resume throwing in another month but a lot of that will depend on the results of his x-ray. Even if the results are fine he will still require more x-rays in two week intervals to keep checking on the status of the fracture.

Until he hears something differently though, he plans on keeping up the rehab process in yet another attempt at a comeback bid.

"As of right now, yeah. I plan on definitely coming back but we'll see what happens. I'm in the middle of [the rehab] right now.

"It definitely is a grind but baseball has been my one and only love in my life so I'm not ready to give up quite yet. I'm going to keep working hard and see what happens."

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