The road to recovery has been a slow process for Claussen. It has only been a year since the surgery and Claussen has spent most of his time, during the season and off season, in rehab. However, Claussen is enjoying his chance to play more and get back into the groove of things.
"You have days that your arm feels good and then you have weeks that it doesn't feel so hot," Claussen told CapitolDugout.com. "But I'm enjoying it. I am still getting a chance to get out there and play a kid's game. I just take it one day at a time."
Claussen is also looking forward to a good off season, without rehab, to relax and reevaluate his game. The end of the season this year will mark Claussen's ninth season playing baseball. With nine years of experience, some of that being at the major league level, Claussen brings both knowledge and skill to the Columbus team.
At the beginning of the season, the Clippers' average age for their starting pitchers was 27 and now the average age has changed to 23. With young pitchers like John Lannan, Joel Hanrahan, and the newest addition Collin Balester to the pitching staff, Claussen finds himself the oldest pitcher, at age 27. The only one, out of the four, with major league experience, Claussen has been able to hold his own and is always willing to give his teammates advice.
"If there is anyway I can prepare Lannan and Balester for the big leagues, I would do it," Claussen said. "Some of the stuff you have to learn by yourself, but I am always willing to help them with little things that I know about. Anything to help them improve and get to the major leagues, I'll do. I wish them the best; they are all great guys and great pitchers."
When it comes to Claussen's approach at the mound, he is a very aggressive pitcher. He likes to pound the strike zone and get ahead in the count. Another thing Claussen likes to do is to control the game and make the hitter hit the pitches he wants them to hit and not the ones they choose.
"I'm going go right at guys, I'm not afraid for the other team to hit the ball," Claussen told us. "I have 8 other guys out there that can make the play and I have faith in them that they will. I pitch for contact and let the other guys do there job."
Claussen rotates between four main pitches which include a fastball, curveball, slider, and change up. His best pitch is his fastball because he can control it more than the others. Claussen's change up needs the most work due to his tendency to rush it. Claussen depends on the location of his pitches during games because his speed on average is only around 86-90mph.
No matter what kind of game Claussen is having, he always has a positive attitude. When playing a sport like baseball that has such a long season, Claussen believes that a positive attitude is the only thing that will get you threw it.
"You have to wake up with a positive attitude everyday," Claussen said. "It's a great job, but can be draining sometimes. Regardless of what happened the game before even pitch before, I shake it off. All I focus on is that I still have the ball and I'm still in control and if I concentrate I can make a good quality pitch or play."
Claussen's future looks bright if you keeps up his positive attitude and continues improving everyday. All he wants is to finish the season healthy and help his team win some games. Spoken like a true veteran, Claussen left with some words of wisdom for players and fans alike.
"Just enjoy it. If you are a player and play for two years, ten years, or twenty years, the time goes fast and you usually don't appreciate it until it's gone. Everyone should enjoy what they love to do because sooner or later, it will be gone!"
Claussen On Comeback Trail
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