Bouchard Battling Back From Injury

Matt Bouchard, the Mets' 11th round pick in the 2007 Draft, had a lot of momentum behind him as he entered the 2008 season. He began the year in Savannah with a good chance of moving up the ladder, but an injury besieged his season and prevented him from performing the way many in the organization believe he can. Now, he looks ahead to next season when he hopes to reassemble his strengths.

One may look at Matt Bouchard's statistics from this past season and be mildly impressed; a .230 batting average, three home runs and 23 RBI in 75 games could confirm an observer's suspicions. But behind the numbers and the .246 career average—which includes his .267 mark with Brooklyn in 2007—is a shortstop with tremendous baseball aptitude and strengthening traits which have gained him high favorability in the Mets' system.

Unfortunately for the second-year shortstop, he never got a true opportunity to display his talents this season. A slow start to his stay in Savannah was made worse by a sports hernia on his right side that only compounded as he attempted to play through the pain.

"Personally, it was an up and down year," he said. "I know I could have accomplished a lot more but I had an injury that progressed and got worse through the year."

"I remember hurting it early on the spring around Spring Training. I can't pinpoint when it exactly happened but the pain, at the beginning, was on and off before it just too much."

Bouchard did his best to persevere through injury, but it was not just the hernia that hampered him. He also suffered from muscle pulls in his right hip and upper thigh which threw a wrench in his swing and prevented him from maintaining a consistent approach.

"It was really tough to swing the bat with the injury I had and I didn't really feel like myself throughout the year. I had to make adjustments from my own game because of the injury," he explained.

"There is a difference between playing hurt and playing injured, and I'm used to playing hurt, but when you're playing injured you can't play to your full potential and that's how I felt."

In June, Bouchard was sent to Brooklyn, but it should not be looked at as a demotion. It was a decision made to simply get him playing time where he could face pitching that provided a comfort zone.

It was during that time, and back to his last weeks in Savannah, when he made a focused effort to improve his mental approach when his physical approach had a ceiling. Though he learned a great amount, he knows there is still room to grow.

"I really started to read pitchers more and look out for tendencies and it really helped," he said. "But In hindsight, I wish I'd done that more. I really could have done a better of job watching the pitchers and picking apart tendencies even when I'm not hitting."

Bouchard tried to gut out the rest of the season, but eventually underwent surgery in late August to correct the hernia so he could be completely ready for the spring. Yet, despite the tumultuous season and being an inactive participant at Fall Instructs, Bouchard's positivity buoys him as he works his way back.

"I'm progressing very well. Rehab days have had their ups and downs but I'm making very good progress. I know I can come back from this and start taking what I've learned off the field, the mental side of the game, and putting it to work."

"I had a lot of fun playing in Savannah and I really can't wait to play again—it's been a while."


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nOne may look at Matt Bouchard's statistics from this past season and be mildly impressed; a .230 batting average, three home runs and 23 RBI in 75 games could confirm an observer's suspicions. But behind the numbers and the .246 career average—which includes his .267 mark with Brooklyn in 2007—is a shortstop with tremendous baseball aptitude and strengthening traits which have gained him high favorability in the Mets' system.
\r\n
\r\nUnfortunately for the second-year shortstop, he never got a true opportunity to display his talents this season. A slow start to his stay in Savannah was made worse by a sports hernia on his right side that only compounded as he attempted to play through the pain.
\r\n
\r\n\"Personally, it was an up and down year,\" he said. \"I know I could have accomplished a lot more but I had an injury that progressed and got worse through the year.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I remember hurting it early on the spring around Spring Training. I can't pinpoint when it exactly happened but the pain, at the beginning, was on and off before it just too much.\"
\r\n
\r\nBouchard did his best to persevere through injury, but it was not just the hernia that hampered him. He also suffered from muscle pulls in his right hip and upper thigh which threw a wrench in his swing and prevented him from maintaining a consistent approach.
\r\n
\r\n\"It was really tough to swing the bat with the injury I had and I didn't really feel like myself throughout the year. I had to make adjustments from my own game because of the injury,\" he explained.
\r\n
\r\n\"There is a difference between playing hurt and playing injured, and I'm used to playing hurt, but when you're playing injured you can't play to your full potential and that's how I felt.\"
\r\n
\r\nIn June, Bouchard was sent to Brooklyn, but it should not be looked at as a demotion. It was a decision made to simply get him playing time where he could face pitching that provided a comfort zone.
\r\n
\r\nIt was during that time, and back to his last weeks in Savannah, when he made a focused effort to improve his mental approach when his physical approach had a ceiling. Though he learned a great amount, he knows there is still room to grow.
\r\n
\r\n\"I really started to read pitchers more and look out for tendencies and it really helped,\" he said. \"But In hindsight, I wish I'd done that more. I really could have done a better of job watching the pitchers and picking apart tendencies even when I'm not hitting.\"
\r\n
\r\nBouchard tried to gut out the rest of the season, but eventually underwent surgery in late August to correct the hernia so he could be completely ready for the spring. Yet, despite the tumultuous season and being an inactive participant at Fall Instructs, Bouchard's positivity buoys him as he works his way back.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm progressing very well. Rehab days have had their ups and downs but I'm making very good progress. I know I can come back from this and start taking what I've learned off the field, the mental side of the game, and putting it to work.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I had a lot of fun playing in Savannah and I really can't wait to play again—it's been a while.\"
\r\n
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