Cotham's Next Step Is Rest

It would be difficult to imagine any pitcher having a better first year back from shoulder surgery than Caleb Cotham had in 2011. Showing an excellent blend of stuff and results, the right-hander says he's hoping some rest this offseason can give him another bump next season and beyond.

"I felt like a lot of things happened this year that I was pleased with," Cotham said. "I was able to get back into games, be back with a real team and compete, and pitch.

"I haven't been able to do that in a long time so it felt good to get back out there and be a pitcher and not be worried about being hurt. I could go out there and focus on competing and getting after it on the mound whereas the last year or so it's been a grind."

Grind might be an understatement. Essentially throwing everyday since November, Cotham made a triumphant return to the mound this season by posting a 1.71 ERA in twelve appearances for the Staten Island Yankees before being shut down in the middle of August.

"I think it was very successful in a rehab sort of way," he said. "I was pitching after ten months and a year out I've logged almost 40 innings off shoulder surgery so I thought it was a pretty good year.

"I started wearing down a little bit because I had been throwing more or less everyday since the last November. I was going on ten months straight of throwing the baseball almost everyday.

"I think the combination of that and getting back to full-speed games, I just had to pick my spots. Down towards the stretch I was going to take some time off and then get back, but then it became a cost vs. reward thing. I had hit my innings."

Unwilling to risk his future health and feeling that he had surpassed their own innings expectations for him, the Yankees shut him down after his August 17th appearance against Connecticut.

Not only did he get his innings in, but Cotham had displayed during that time the same kind of plus stuff he had shown in his amateur days.

"I think stuff-wise, yeah," Cotham concurred. "As I pitched more and more, I felt more and more comfortable. I think that was the last thing to come, just being comfortable out there knowing I still had the stuff.

"The velo for the most part was more or less the same, the slider was good, and I was even more confident with my changeup than I ever been. As the year went on I got better and better, and I felt like I was pitching like I think I can."

Striking out 32 batters in 23 official minor league innings this season, Cotham, who averaged 91-92 mph with his fastball this past season, believes that a little rest will go a long way in bringing his stuff up a notch now that he doesn't have to focus any attention on the injury.

"That's my mindset. Get that rest in and having three or four months of not having to worry about how my arm feels – everyone tells me that's a big part of the shoulder surgery – that big chunk of rest in your first offseason, you need that because you've thrown for a while," he said. "The way I look it is I'm going to come back and be as good as I've ever been."

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\r\n \r\n\r\n\"I felt like a lot of things happened this year that I was pleased with,\" Cotham said. \"I was able to get back into games, be back with a real team and compete, and pitch.
\r\n
\r\n\"I haven't been able to do that in a long time so it felt good to get back out there and be a pitcher and not be worried about being hurt. I could go out there and focus on competing and getting after it on the mound whereas the last year or so it's been a grind.\"
\r\n
\r\nGrind might be an understatement. Essentially throwing everyday since November, Cotham made a triumphant return to the mound this season by posting a 1.71 ERA in twelve appearances for the Staten Island Yankees before being shut down in the middle of August.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think it was very successful in a rehab sort of way,\" he said. \"I was pitching after ten months and a year out I've logged almost 40 innings off shoulder surgery so I thought it was a pretty good year.
\r\n
\r\n\"I started wearing down a little bit because I had been throwing more or less everyday since the last November. I was going on ten months straight of throwing the baseball almost everyday.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think the combination of that and getting back to full-speed games, I just had to pick my spots. Down towards the stretch I was going to take some time off and then get back, but then it became a cost vs. reward thing. I had hit my innings.\"
\r\n
\r\nUnwilling to risk his future health and feeling that he had surpassed their own innings expectations for him, the Yankees shut him down after his August 17th appearance against Connecticut.
\r\n
\r\nNot only did he get his innings in, but Cotham had displayed during that time the same kind of plus stuff he had shown in his amateur days.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think stuff-wise, yeah,\" Cotham concurred. \"As I pitched more and more, I felt more and more comfortable. I think that was the last thing to come, just being comfortable out there knowing I still had the stuff.
\r\n
\r\n\"The velo for the most part was more or less the same, the slider was good, and I was even more confident with my changeup than I ever been. As the year went on I got better and better, and I felt like I was pitching like I think I can.\"
\r\n
\r\nStriking out 32 batters in 23 official minor league innings this season, Cotham, who averaged 91-92 mph with his fastball this past season, believes that a little rest will go a long way in bringing his stuff up a notch now that he doesn't have to focus any attention on the injury.
\r\n
\r\n\"That's my mindset. Get that rest in and having three or four months of not having to worry about how my arm feels – everyone tells me that's a big part of the shoulder surgery – that big chunk of rest in your first offseason, you need that because you've thrown for a while,\" he said. \"The way I look it is I'm going to come back and be as good as I've ever been.\"
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

\r\n

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