Spring Q&A with Tobi Stoner

The 2010 season was hardly the year Tobi Stoner envisioned it would be. Plagued with arm pain, Stoner was forced to shut down a disappointing year in August and has since worked his way back. Now nearing the end of his rehab, Stoner wants to get back on track this season. Look inside to find out where he's at.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: So it's been a long year and offseason for you. You battled the arm injuries last year. Where are you at now that camp is almost over?

Tobi Stoner: Well I had surgery on my elbow in August to clean up a bone spur behind my elbow. My elbow was doing much better, but then I had shoulder pain and had to work that back up to full strength. I had to get my arm back into throwing shape. I'm going to start throwing bullpens and get on the mound next week, which I'm looking forward to.

Inside Pitch: Now, the shoulder injury was going back to last year when you said you had discomfort in there.

Stoner: Right. The shoulder problems popped up because I was compensating for my elbow. I just need to get back to good habits and good mechanics of throwing. That's going well right now and it's starting to feel really good when I'm throwing, and I'm pain free. I just have to get my arm into game shape.

The first time I threw was about three weeks ago, but I haven't been on a mound yet. My first mound action will be next week.

Inside Pitch: What was your offseason like? I imagine it was a lot of rehab, but can you describe what it was like?

Stoner: I had a lot of therapy for the muscles around my elbow, like my forearm, biceps and triceps. Then I had to do my shoulder exercises. I did rehab at home and then went to my local therapist, but I followed the Mets program. I could have been throwing back home over the winter, but with my elbow being messed up I was creating bad habits. I was dropping my elbow and that caused pinching in the back of my shoulder. If I got my elbow back in the normal slot, I wouldn't have been putting so much pressure on my shoulder. I could have been in games by now, but it didn't work out that way. I'm in the throwing program now and I'm feeling pretty good.

Inside Pitch: You've always been a durable pitcher, so the elbow problem is new for you. Was it a sudden injury or one that developed over time?

Stoner: It was definitely over time. I'd say over three years my elbow wasn't right. It started as nothing serious, but by the time I needed surgery my velocity dropped probably 6 to 7 miles per hour. I wasn't locating well. My pitches weren't the same. I couldn't even stretch my elbow out all the way. That bone spur in the back of my elbow would not allow me to get full extension, which took away velocity, command and the quality of my pitches.

Inside Pitch: You pitched much of the year in pain and still went until mid-August. That's a pretty long time to grind it out with that pain.

Stoner: Being a starting pitcher, you're always going to pitch through soreness. There's never a day when your arm feels 100 percent. I've pitched through soreness. I've pitched through pain. It just comes with the territory. Usually, when I'm on my 5-day rotation, I'll throw my bullpen on my second off day.

When the pain kept coming, I moved my bullpen to my third day and then moved it back further and further. It got to the point where I had to skip to the bullpen altogether because I didn't feel like my arm could do it.

My velocity dropped. My ERA went up near 6.00. That's not me. I know it's not. (In 2009), I had a three-something ERA (3.55) and then the next year my ERA nearly doubled (5.97). I know that drastic of a change doesn't represent the pitcher I am, especially in the same league, without there being a reason. My numbers showed it, my walks showed it, my velocity showed it. I tried to battle as long as I could to help the team get in a position to win, but it was a grind and it was emotional because I'm used to more success.

Inside Pitch: You were on the 40-man roster last fall and then the Mets have a couple openings in the rotation, but you had the injury. Was that disappointing for you? Or were you focused on just getting the arm healthy?

Stoner: It didn't disappoint me at all. I've been with the Mets for five years now. They know what I can do and how I can pitch. No matter where I'm at, I have to pitch the best that I can. Being moved up or sent down, that's irrelevant. The Mets have a plan and if they see me as part of that plan in the big leagues, that'd be great. If I pitch well, and I stay in Triple-A, there are lot of variables that I can pitch toward. The only thing I can focus on now, is going out there, pitching well, and putting my team in position to get a win. What the Mets do with me, that's out of my hands.

Inside Pitch: It goes without saying that getting your arm right is your priority, but is there anything else you want to accomplish this year?

Stoner: Obviously my goal is to be in the big leagues at some point. My concern right now is – first, feeling good and staying healthy. I'd like to get my velocity back to where it was and my location with that. I want my pitches to be back to where they were in 2009 when my arm was feeling pretty decent. That's the main point for me – staying healthy and having the efficiency that I had in 2009. I want to keep my team in a position to win and be healthy at the same time.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: So it's been a long year and offseason for you. You battled the arm injuries last year. Where are you at now that camp is almost over?
\r\n
\r\nTobi Stoner: Well I had surgery on my elbow in August to clean up a bone spur behind my elbow. My elbow was doing much better, but then I had shoulder pain and had to work that back up to full strength. I had to get my arm back into throwing shape. I'm going to start throwing bullpens and get on the mound next week, which I'm looking forward to.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Now, the shoulder injury was going back to last year when you said you had discomfort in there.
\r\n
\r\nStoner: Right. The shoulder problems popped up because I was compensating for my elbow. I just need to get back to good habits and good mechanics of throwing. That's going well right now and it's starting to feel really good when I'm throwing, and I'm pain free. I just have to get my arm into game shape.
\r\n
\r\nThe first time I threw was about three weeks ago, but I haven't been on a mound yet. My first mound action will be next week.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: What was your offseason like? I imagine it was a lot of rehab, but can you describe what it was like?
\r\n
\r\nStoner: I had a lot of therapy for the muscles around my elbow, like my forearm, biceps and triceps. Then I had to do my shoulder exercises. I did rehab at home and then went to my local therapist, but I followed the Mets program. I could have been throwing back home over the winter, but with my elbow being messed up I was creating bad habits. I was dropping my elbow and that caused pinching in the back of my shoulder. If I got my elbow back in the normal slot, I wouldn't have been putting so much pressure on my shoulder. I could have been in games by now, but it didn't work out that way. I'm in the throwing program now and I'm feeling pretty good.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: You've always been a durable pitcher, so the elbow problem is new for you. Was it a sudden injury or one that developed over time?
\r\n
\r\nStoner: It was definitely over time. I'd say over three years my elbow wasn't right. It started as nothing serious, but by the time I needed surgery my velocity dropped probably 6 to 7 miles per hour. I wasn't locating well. My pitches weren't the same. I couldn't even stretch my elbow out all the way. That bone spur in the back of my elbow would not allow me to get full extension, which took away velocity, command and the quality of my pitches.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: You pitched much of the year in pain and still went until mid-August. That's a pretty long time to grind it out with that pain.
\r\n
\r\nStoner: Being a starting pitcher, you're always going to pitch through soreness. There's never a day when your arm feels 100 percent. I've pitched through soreness. I've pitched through pain. It just comes with the territory. Usually, when I'm on my 5-day rotation, I'll throw my bullpen on my second off day.
\r\n
\r\nWhen the pain kept coming, I moved my bullpen to my third day and then moved it back further and further. It got to the point where I had to skip to the bullpen altogether because I didn't feel like my arm could do it.
\r\n
\r\nMy velocity dropped. My ERA went up near 6.00. That's not me. I know it's not. (In 2009), I had a three-something ERA (3.55) and then the next year my ERA nearly doubled (5.97). I know that drastic of a change doesn't represent the pitcher I am, especially in the same league, without there being a reason. My numbers showed it, my walks showed it, my velocity showed it. I tried to battle as long as I could to help the team get in a position to win, but it was a grind and it was emotional because I'm used to more success.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: You were on the 40-man roster last fall and then the Mets have a couple openings in the rotation, but you had the injury. Was that disappointing for you? Or were you focused on just getting the arm healthy?
\r\n
\r\nStoner: It didn't disappoint me at all. I've been with the Mets for five years now. They know what I can do and how I can pitch. No matter where I'm at, I have to pitch the best that I can. Being moved up or sent down, that's irrelevant. The Mets have a plan and if they see me as part of that plan in the big leagues, that'd be great. If I pitch well, and I stay in Triple-A, there are lot of variables that I can pitch toward. The only thing I can focus on now, is going out there, pitching well, and putting my team in position to get a win. What the Mets do with me, that's out of my hands.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: It goes without saying that getting your arm right is your priority, but is there anything else you want to accomplish this year?
\r\n
\r\nStoner: Obviously my goal is to be in the big leagues at some point. My concern right now is – first, feeling good and staying healthy. I'd like to get my velocity back to where it was and my location with that. I want my pitches to be back to where they were in 2009 when my arm was feeling pretty decent. That's the main point for me – staying healthy and having the efficiency that I had in 2009. I want to keep my team in a position to win and be healthy at the same time.
\r\n
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