Injury Hurting Gavin Brooks' Draft Projection

Gavin Brooks is one of the brightest prospects in California, ranking among the top three prep players in the state. However a torn rotator cuff is currently standing in the way of playing in professional baseball after his senior year. The injury was a gradual process which eventually became too much for Brooks to take, and after visiting several doctors decided surgery was the best method to rehab it. Will Brooks be ready for the 2006 draft? He talked to about those chances

The injury began to occur in 2004, but Brooks cites it was a gradual process. He knew something was wrong, but was always able to pitch with the discomfort. Eventually the discomfort never went away, and Brooks began visiting many doctors to get their opinions on the problem and what the rehab process should be.

After taking a MRI on July 12 the doctors realized Brooks had a 2% tear in his rotator cuff. The left-handed pitcher from Vista, California has been rehabbing since the summer and told the Network that his arm is feeling much better, and he has begun to throw bullpen sessions.

The doctors never gave Brooks a timetable on when he can be back on the mound, but they did give him a program that tells him when he can begin throwing. Currently Brooks is seven weeks into a fourteen-week program that is expected to build his arm back into shape.

"When I feel ready to pitch from the mound, and in a game, I will do so," said Brooks. "I don't want to set a date, because then I will be rushing myself to reach that date."

Brooks' future is on the mound, though he batted .375 and posted a team-best twenty-two runs batted in as a junior, while he was recovering from his injury. Brooks was also named as an All-Academic Athlete with a 4.1 GPA in 2005.

"I am a decent hitter, but pitching is my strength," said the scholar-athlete. "It's tough sometimes to concentrate on your schoolwork when you have lots of it, but you know your school work is more important right now."

Brooks is not a stranger to staying up late to make sure his school work is done, and does not cite schooling as a major problem that interferes with baseball.

The Rancho Buena senior throws a two-seam and four-seam fastball, to go along with his curveball and changeup. His best pitch is likely his changeup. The southpaws fastball tops out at 92 MPH, and Brooks was working on a cut-fastball before the injury, and hopes to begin working on it in the near future.

Brooks, wanting to stay in Southern California and play in a competitive baseball atmosphere, committed to UCLA.

"Gavin has established himself as one of the top left-handers in the country. He should be a frontline Pac-10 pitcher as a freshman. He has a tremendous fastball and a great mix of off-speed pitches," said John Savage, head coach of the UCLA Bruins.

As far as his professional career goes, Brooks is willing to wait three more years if it does not pan out this June for him. Scouts have been talking to the left-handed pitcher this winter, and his draft position will depend on his health and if he is able to pitch this spring.

"My first goal it to get healthy, and then I will consider my options."

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