Goody Encouraged

It was a tale of two seasons for reliever Nick Goody this year. After pretty much missing the entire 2013 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, he got off to a great start with the Tampa Yankees this season. But while statistically it was a different story in Double-A Trenton later in the year, he says he is encouraged overall with his return to the mound.

"I think it went alright," Goody said of his season. "It had its ups and downs just like every year but mainly the most important thing that I wanted to do this year was walk off the mound every time healthy; just make sure that I could get that full year under my belt, my elbow being healthy, and my body being healthy."

He began the season in dominant fashion, posting a 2.35 ERA for the high-A Tampa Yankees and striking out 27 batters in just 15.1 innings. While he continued to strike batters out in Double-A for the Trenton Thunder, whiffing 19 in in 16 innings, he did see his ERA rise to an uncharacteristic 6.75 and see his walk ratio begin to spike too [ten walks].

"The results are going to come to eventually," he said. "You can't be too discouraged when you have bad outings and you can't get too happy when you do good. It's your first year back from surgery so you have things you have to work on. Obviously I think the year should have gone better but at the same time I can't be mad about bouncing back and having a full healthy year."

Overall he made 27 appearances in 2014 which was four more than he had made in his fantastic debut season in 2012. He did miss one month of the season on the disabled list this season but that was more of a designed plan to get him some rest than an actual injury.

"It was more or less get a little time off because I had been throwing for almost a year straight so they wanted to give me a little time off," he confirmed.

Not only was he able to stay healthy all year long but the other encouraging sign was seeing his velocity begin to spike back to his pre-surgery days. He not only sat 91-94 mph for the most part this past season, which was his average velocity before Tommy John surgery, but he also saw his top velocity rise to uncharted territories at the professional level.

"Actually I feel like I was throwing harder more consistently," he opined. "I think I got it up there to 96 mph in Tampa once or twice. It's definitely coming back so I can't be mad about that either."

They say the last thing to come back for Tommy John recipients is their command and that could explain why there was such a disparity in his results with Trenton.

"I'd say a little bit of that. One day I'd have all three pitches. I'd go out and pitch fine. And then the next day I'd be like 'where's my slider'. Some days you have it and some days you don't, and I've talked to some guys who have had [Tommy John] surgery before and they said that's normal.

"Obviously for me I want to have all of my stuff all of the time and it just didn't happen that way. But I'm not mad about that either because there's going to be games where you don't have anything and you have to find a way to get through it.

"I think this year, especially in Trenton, I learned how to get guys out without having my slider or changeup, or my fastball command, or not having my three pitches. It helped me become a better pitcher."

So while the numbers might not have been there in Trenton, Goody, who made every appearance he was asked to make and saw his velocity make a full return, is actually very encouraged after his first year back from Tommy John surgery.

"Absolutely," he insisted. "I'm not mad about it. I got a full year back healthy and a lot of guys [coming back] have a lot of setbacks, and I was just blessed enough not to have any setbacks. Lots of prayers and everything were answered."

He realizes there is still work to be done, however, most notably improving his fastball command and finding a more consistent slider, two areas of focus for him right now at Instructional League.

"I'm messing with a cutter right now at Instructs," he revealed. "It's coming along. Everyday you get out here you have the chance to work on something and the good thing about Instructs is you or they pick [something] to work on and that's what you do everyday, and everything is geared towards that one goal.

"I told them what I wanted to work on was my slider and we're messing with the cutter. It's good."

Goody, who has been pitching pretty much for over a year and half now when including his rehab throwing program, is looking forward to taking some time off this offseason before hitting it hard again in preparation for the 2015 season.

They say the first year back from Tommy John surgery is the roughest one and he now has gotten that out of the way. And with what he was able to accomplish this year that leaves him very enthusiastic going forward.

"I'm super excited. I can't wait. Obviously I need to take some time off to rest the body and then just like every year right around December I'll be itching to get back out there.

"It's crazy because you go through the whole year and then it's about a week, you take a week off, and then I'm ready to go. I'm really excited. Plus I'm here at Instructs and it's only making me want to stay out there longer," he concluded.

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories