"When I was a kid, I had surgery on my stomach for an intestinal problem," recalls Roquet, a non-drafted free agent from Cal Poly that was signed by the Cubs last summer. "So they said anytime when you're a kid and they break that wall, sometimes it gets a little weaker and a hernia could happen."
That's more or less what happened to Roquet this season, although neither Roquet nor his doctors are 100 percent certain that the hernia injury stems solely from the operation the pitcher underwent years ago.
The 25-year-old right-hander appeared in roughly 50 games in relief this past season between three of the Cubs' full-season affiliates, and then made another six appearances in the Fall League before being shut down in early November.
While most pitchers would be content to call it a year with the type of season that Roquet had – beginning with 16 straight scoreless outings at Low Class-A Peoria to open the year, and ending with a 4-0 record, seven saves and a modest 3.63 ERA at Double-A Tennessee – this Cubs pitching prospect is just the opposite.
He is ready to return, even if it is essentially smack in the middle of the off-season.
"I'm itching to do some running or something," Roquet said.
Most of the good stuff will have to wait until Spring Training, though.
Roquet says the Cubs weren't too overly concerned with the hernia injury at first and that they initially told him to pitch with it until it was no longer possible.
Roquet had reached that point by the end of October after almost three weeks in Arizona.
"They found out the first of August and told me to pitch until I couldn't pitch anymore," he said laughing. "I pitched all through August and September and the (Southern League) playoffs. Then I came (to Arizona) and it kept on getting a little worse."
Dr. Alex Nagle then performed surgery on Roquet on Nov. 6 in Chicago.
Roquet was scheduled to begin his running exercises this week, and if all goes as planned, hitting the weight room will be next.
Roquet had one of the best seasons of any reliever in the Cubs' farm system in 2007. He was promoted twice and proved that he could pitch wherever the organization sent him.
The right-hander is armed with a fastball that can reach the mid to upper 90s consistently, complete with a slider and changeup.
Roquet initially went to the Fall League looking for more consistency with his breaking pitch, and to better develop the changeup, he said.