SHANKS: How is your rehab going?
STURTZE: I think it's going good. Hopefully I'm on schedule. I'm throwing, just not throwing actually where I wanted to be right now. They say that I'm a little ahead of schedule, so I've just got to keep staying with it and see what happens.
SHANKS: Now remind me exactly what the procedure was?
STURTZE: I had rotator cuff and labrum surgery on my shoulder.
SHANKS: When you had it, what did the doctors say as far as a timetable for you to return?
STURTZE: They said a year.
SHANKS: And what was the date for the surgery?
STURTZE: May 23rd.
SHANKS: So do you feel you're on target for late May or early June?
STURTZE: I feel like I'm pretty close to that. The throwing has been going pretty well in spring training, and even since we've been here. So it's just coming to a point where I don't want to push it too fast and have a big setback. So I'm just kind of staying with the program.
SHANKS: It's got to help that they are not going to rush you back. They've got the depth to where you don't have to rush to get back.
STURTZE: Yeah. That helps out a lot, especially not having to go through camp and not have to push it to make a club. They've got plenty of guys here, and even guys in Triple-A that are going to be ready too. It's a good situation for me. It's worked out.
SHANKS: So are you throwing off the mound yet?
STURTZE: I had a couple of bullpen mound sessions in Florida. I haven't had one since I've been here, but that's probably coming in a week or so.
SHANKS: What percent do you think you are at now?
STURTZE: I don't really know. I'm just trying to go through the workout and make sure there's no pain.
SHANKS: Will they send you out for a rehab for a while?
STURTZE: I would imagine. I would imagine May is going to be a roller coaster for me as far as traveling. We'll see what happens.
SHANKS: What's the toughest part of the rehab process?
STURTZE: Waiting. It's brutal.
SHANKS: More mental than physical?
STURTZE: I think it's way more mental than physical. I think everybody physically knows and expects what you're going through since you had surgery, so they know it's a year. But mentally you want to get out there and compete. I think that's the hardest thing – to just watch the game. It's not that easy to just sit in the dugout and just watch.
SHANKS: Everybody that comes to a new team wants to make a good impression. But you had to wait to do that, so it's a little different situation for you?
STURTZE: You sit around and wait. You don't know many guys on the team. I know a couple guys I played against when I was in the American League, but the other guys you don't really know. They see me kind of sitting around and doing nothing but rehabbing. But it's been good. The guys have been great. The coaching staff has been great. The organization has been great. They're not pushing anything. They really knew my time frame when they signed me.
SHANKS: You've had about every role a pitcher can have, so what's your favorite?
STURTZE: I don't really have one. Going into the games late in the innings is a great experience cause you know everything is on the line. It's either do or die. You're either the goat or the hero. Starting you have a little more time and a little more leeway when you get the ball every five days. But competing in the big leagues is a great job.
SHANKS: When they signed you did they tell you what role they wanted you for?
STURTZE: No. I just wanted to get healthy and we'll see what happens after that.
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. He can be heard on 680 the Fan in Atlanta, 105.5 the Fan in Macon, and the Atlanta Braves Radio Network. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sturtze on schedule for possible June return
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