The Long Road Back For Sullivan

The words Tommy John Surgery make pitchers run for cover. Those are three words they never want to be associated with. However, for pitchers that have to have the surgery, they usually have some feeling that there is a problem or discomfort in their arm. You can imagine the shock Jerry Sullivan was in last November when doctors took a routine MRI, and advised him to have the surgery. How does the surgery affect his status for the 2006 draft? Sullivan talks to about his draft thoughts.


Sullivan, one of the top high school pitching prospects before the surgery, is one month away from picking up a baseball. The Budd Lake, New Jersey native underwent successful Tommy John surgery in November, and is getting ready to begin his rehab next month.

Sullivan had no idea his arm was in bad shape until he underwent an MRI for Major League Baseball in preparation for declaring his name in time for the 2006 draft.

"The doctor came back with the results and told me the injury was about a year old, and that surgery should have to be done immediately."

Sullivan is eagerly anticipating his rehab and wants to get himself back to the level he was before surgery. Sullivan was throwing his fastball between 93-95 MPH before the injury, but doctors expect him to make a full recovery. Sullivan also throws a changeup and a curveball.

"I would like to work on my fastball a little more," said Sullivan. "I want to hit my spots a little better with it."

Sullivan, who models his game after Roger Clemens, and who also would like to add a splitter like Clemens, realizes the surgery has hurt his chances of being selected in the 2006 MLB Draft.

"If I wasn't hurt it would be a different story. I understand it would be a risk for any team to select me."

"It's every kids dream to get drafted, and I will keep my options open."

Sullivan will pick up a ball for the first time at the end of March and he expects to be back on a mound by June or July. However, the right-hander knows he will not be throwing at full strength until the winter.

His injury didn't only affect his status in the draft, but many top colleges decided to pass on Sullivan. The senior was beginning to explore his options in attending a Junior College before Oral Roberts knocked on his door.

"I was set on going to a Junior College, before Oral Roberts invited me to see their campus and showed me they believed in me after all my hard work."

Sullivan is also a recipient of the Cal Ripken Jr. Sportsmanship Award, an honor presented to the right-hander during the AFLAC All-American Classic last summer in Baltimore.

"That entire experience at the AFLAC Classic was just amazing," the right-hander said. "They rolled out the red carpet for us, but the charity work they did with the cancer patients was also amazing to see."

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