Olt begins rehab process

After undergoing surgery to repair his broken collarbone, third baseman Mike Olt returned home to Connecticut for a few days before traveling to the Texas Rangers' minor league complex in Arizona. Lone Star Dugout caught up with the 22-year-old to discuss his injury and rehab timetable.

Third baseman Mike Olt has solidified himself as one of the Texas Rangers organization's top prospects this season, flashing a handful of legitimate plus tools that include raw power, glove, and arm strength.

Playing 54 games in the pitcher-friendly Carolina League, Olt is batting .286 with 12 doubles and 10 home runs. He has also drawn 35 walks while striking out 51 times. The numbers add up to an impressive .286/.395/.508 slash line in a circuit where just five qualifying players are batting .300 or better.

Even though Olt has not appeared in a game since June 6, he still ranks among the league leaders in home runs (10; 6th) and walks (35; 6th). He currently places third in the league with a .903 OPS.

The former supplemental first-round pick hasn't played since June 6 due to an injury that figures to keep him out for much of the second half. In the eighth inning that night, Olt suffered a broken collarbone in a home-plate collision with Winston-Salem catcher Jason Bour. He was forced to leave the game, and––as he explains in the following interview––he underwent surgery in Arlington a couple days after the injury.

Now, Olt is rehabbing at the Rangers' minor league complex in Surprise, Ariz. He says the exact rehab timetable isn't crystal clear just yet––it all depends on how the collarbone heals over the next couple weeks.

The UConn product hopes to return at sometime in August, prior to the conclusion of the minor league regular season. The missed time likely means he'll see action at fall instructional league––if not the Arizona Fall League––after this season.

While the broken collarbone doesn't alter Olt's standing as a prospect––and it likely won't have any long-term effects on his career––the injury is a disappointing way to disrupt what had been an impressive full-season debut.

Jason Cole: Just tell me about the injury that has you out right now. What exactly happened?

Mike Olt: Well, it was the bottom of the eighth. I was on second base and Chirino hit a base hit to right. The guy made a throw home. There was no other chance I had to get around the catcher, so I had to try and take him out and try and knock the ball loose. It just so happened that my collarbone hit his shoulder while it was happening.

Cole: Did you know pretty much right away that something was wrong?

Olt: No. I was fine. I walked back to the dugout to get my glove, and I tried lifting my helmet up to put it in the rack with my left arm, and I couldn't move it. That's when I knew something was bad.

Cole: Well tell me about the surgery you had on it. When did that happen?

Olt: When I heard I needed surgery, I kind of started freaking out. But they told me that the surgery was the quickest way to recovery. What they did was they just put a plate in there and six screws. I had the surgery like two days after the injury. The next day after that, I was moving my arm already. And a couple days after that, I was lifting it over my head. So that has been a good process so far.

Cole: How does it feel right now?

Olt: It feels great right now. The first week was really bad. I was in a lot of pain. When I was about to come out to Arizona, I started to notice some improvements. This whole week, I've been fine while working therapy. I haven't been sore afterward, so it has been good.

Cole: How long do you think it will be before you're able to step on the baseball field and do some things again?

Olt: They're hoping like six weeks. Now it's a little less than six weeks.

Cole: Can you talk about the timetable of when you would start to maybe hit or throw? Do you know when you may be able to get back into game action?

Olt: I think––it's a real slow process, but the goal is that I'm going to try and start hitting in maybe three or four weeks. And then from there, I'll take probably two weeks to get game ready. That's all if the X-rays that I'm going to take in two weeks show up that I'm doing fine. If that's good to go, then we can start pushing a little bit more. Until then, we can't really tell anything.

Cole: I'm sure it's always disappointing to be in Arizona this time of year, but you're there with a couple of your Spokane teammates from last year in Brett Weibley (Tommy John surgery) and Kevin Johnson (AZL). Does that help at all?

Olt: Yeah. I'd never want them to be here, but I really am glad that they're here. It could be a long couple months, that's for sure.

Cole: How have you been passing the time there? I know the life of a rehabber is kind of difficult with the early morning therapy followed by a bunch of free time.

Olt: Yeah. We've been having therapy later, so that kind of helps. I've been getting some sleep. And then we basically just hang out––that's it. A lot of eating. There's not much else to do here. I feel like the only thing I want to do is eat, which is good because I've lost some weight. I'm hoping to put it back on.

Cole: Before you did get hurt, what were your overall thoughts on your season thus far?

Olt: I felt the season had been going well. I definitely learned a lot and was able to start executing a lot of things that the coaches have been teaching me. I think I was on the right track. It was just a little disappointing for me to have to go down like that, but I'll be back.

Cole: Yeah, how much are you looking forward to getting back out there and building upon what you were doing?

Olt: I can't wait. I'm excited. That's where I get myself into trouble, because I usually try to push myself. I'm kind of glad I'm here, so Texas won't let me get out there too early. I'm definitely really excited, and I can't wait to get back out there.

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