Nick Schmidt eyes August return

PEORIA, AZ- After just 7.1 professional innings, left-hander Nick Schmidt – a first-round pick by the San Diego Padres in 2007 – succumbed to injury. He is on the rehab trail at the Peoria Sports Complex in extended spring training.

The season ends before it truly begins for you in 2007. How disappointing was that.

Nick Schmidt: It is disappointing but it is almost a blessing too that it happened early in my career and not on the verge when I am getting to the show. You can look at it both ways but I look at it as a blessing right now.

You almost have something to prove at this point. They spent first-round money on you and are expecting some big things. Is that added pressure?

Nick Schmidt: I went to Fort Wayne and didn't do too well and then I got hurt. I have not proved myself, except what I did in college but that is in the past. You have to move on.

What is the mental process like as you go through the injury rehab process.

Nick Schmidt: It has been tough at times because I see everybody doing everything, participating in all the drills. I want to be out there and want to be throwing, but there is only so much I can do. That is tough.

On the other side, I am learning. This was my first spring and I am learning the Padres system.

What are you learning from this different angle since you aren't able to participate?

Nick Schmidt: Different people have different perspectives on how to do stuff. When you are with them you want to do it their way and not try and do it your own way. You pick up how they want it done and go from there.

Where are you in the recovery process?

Nick Schmidt: I just started throwing in March and am at about six months. I am just trying to keep my legs in shape.

This season has been a year of lost development time. Is the goal to return to the mound in August?

Nick Schmidt: I will be back on the mound in August and then will throw in Instructs this year – light. It is a long process.

When you get drafted, you can't even imagine this happening. Now that it has, how can you take what you are seeing and learning and apply on the field next year?

Nick Schmidt: The big thing is learning from what happened. I can't be out there but I have to act like I am out there. I have to feel like I am out there doing everything, even though I am not in reality. It is a learning process this year.

Are you afraid of losing your mechanics and your stuff? And do you use this time to experiment with different grips and feels with the baseball in your hand?

Nick Schmidt: I have already felt like I have lost my arm slot. I started throwing at five months and I already felt like I lost that arm slot. That is something you have to find. Everyone who goes through Tommy John has to relearn again.

I look forward to getting healthy. I have been able to get stronger in the weight room with my legs, which is something I always wanted to do.

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