Q&A with Alhaji Turay

St. Lucie Mets outfielder Alhaji Turay saw his 2005 season cut short by a displaced wrist tendon in early June, concluding an off year in which the power hitter batted just .193. Turay talked recently with Inside Pitch's Bryan Hoch about his recovery process and the outlook for 2006 (Premium Content).

You missed a major part of last season after June. What happened exactly?

I had a tendon in my wrist that kept popping out of place, so I had wrist surgery. I had the surgery in August, so I went up to New York and had the surgery, then I came back to San Diego and started rehabbing it for about a month. It's feeling good now, though. I'm feeling strong.

Why the delay between June and actually having the surgery in August?

It was my wrist. I couldn't swing the bat. They sent me up to New York and gave me three different cortisone shots at spots in my wrist, because they wanted to make sure I didn't have to have surgery if it'd heal. They wanted to give me time, but it never got any better.

How do you think you handled the whole situation?

That's the first surgery I've ever had, man. It was kind of brutal, because I'd never gone through something like that before, but I'm just glad it was my wrist and not my leg or something. It's easy to come back from something like that.

What has the recovery process been like?

They sent me to a rehab facility out here in San Diego - kind of like a hospital [with a] hand specialist - and they put me on a big machine and put me through a whole bunch of different motions. I was pretty weak so I had to start building the strength up in my wrist before I could start working out.

How does it feel to be back swinging the bat again?

It feels good. I've been hitting for about two months now with Tony Gwynn, so it feels good. I met him last year and started hitting with him last year a little bit, and this year I started a little earlier in the cages and working on staying inside the ball, shortening up my swing and that kind of stuff.

How do you look at 2005? Do you look at it as a disappointing year considering your numbers and the injury?

I don't see it as a disappointment. It's just frustrating I didn't get to play. I missed out on a lot of at-bats, and playing at St. Lucie for the second time, I wanted to just have a good year. I felt strong coming in and when a fluke injury happens, there's nothing you can do.

Was there one specific moment you remember when the injury started bothering you?

I was hitting in the cages with our old hitting coach Al LeBouef, and I just felt a tweak. Then I took another swing and I couldn't swing the bat anymore. It just went. It's a fluke injury.

So you're feeling healthy and ready for 2006, I gather. What's your outlook on the season coming up?

Yeah, totally. I'm just taking extra precautions. I want to come out and have a good spring training, because it's not in my control where they put me. I just want to come out and play hard and try to make a squad.

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