Frare's Long Road Back

Caleb Frare, the left-handed pitcher drafted out of high school in the 11th round of the 2012 MLB Draft, last pitched in an official minor league game on August 25th of that same year, his debut season. He underwent Tommy John surgery later that offseason and to say his road back to a full recovery has been either a long one or a unique one would be massive understatements.

He missed the entire 2013 season rehabbing his way back from Tommy John surgery and was all set to finally return to pitching with the rest of his peers at Spring Training this year when his road back took a very different detour.

"First day of Spring Training, I hadn't even been inside the [minor league] complex yet, and I was unloading my truck and [Angelo] Gumbs' wife backed into me and pinned me against my pickup," he revealed. "That's what was wrong with me [pretty much] all year. I felt so bad, all of her kids were with her too. It was just an unhappy accident.

"Had I not been hit by the car I would have been healthy at the beginning of Spring Training, a normal player."

It wasn't a major accident but it did bruise his left knee rather badly. He tried pitching on it in one game during Spring Training and, while there was no structural damage, something just didn't feel right and he was shut down for two weeks.

He began a mini-throwing program to get his arm strength up and then pitched in three consecutive games in Extended Spring Training but the knee still wasn't 100 percent so the Yankees shut him down a second time, this time for one month.

With the calendar flipping towards the beginning of the Gulf Coast League season in mid-June, Frare had to begin the throwing program once again given the amount of time he had been resting and that put his estimated time table at making a full return in games by the end of August.

"I'd feel good, I'd be on it for about three weeks and then something wouldn't feel right. Nothing ended up ever being wrong [with the knee]. So they gave me three or four weeks off of doing nothing, just going in getting treatments, and I haven't had an issue [with the knee] since then.

"The arm was feeling good, the body was feeling good, so they slated me [to return] for the end of August to come back, and I was doing conditioning sprints and I tore my quad," he noted.

Tearing his left quad, it pretty much ended his season before it actually ever really began. Trying to keep positive about it, Frare was happy in the sense that he was now two years removed from Tommy John surgery and had no issues whatsoever with his pitching arm.

With the pulled quad ending any potential chance he had of attending Instructs this offseason, he headed home to Montana and that's where his road to recovery took yet another detour.

"I actually had my gall bladder out [a week ago] Thursday," he revealed. "This was the first year I was able to drive home by myself and outside of Kansas City I started going north and my side started hurting. So I stopped at a gas station and got some Alieve, took it, and the pain was still there."

He checked himself into an emergency room in Sioux Falls and spent a night in the hospital but they couldn't find the problem.

"When I got home I saw the family doctor and he said 'there's something not right here'. They couldn't figure out what it was because I didn't have gallstones or any of that business, but it just wasn't working.

"We spent three weeks figuring out what it was -- I had been talking to Tim [Lentych, the head trainer] and all of our team doctors -- and we just decided to have it out. It'll be good because it will give the quad a little extra time. So after six weeks of just chilling out I'm good to go."

The plan even before his latest surgery was to go home, rest, and begin the regular offseason workout program [not a rehab program] and that is still the case now, albeit the program will be delayed an extra four weeks by the needed additional rest.

Considering everything he's been through since his first got drafted -- Tommy John surgery, the car accident, the pulled quad, and now having his gall bladder removed -- Frare, who is still listed on the Charleston RiverDogs' disabled list, can't help but feel a little snakebit.

"I felt like I got robbed a little bit this year," he admitted. "I didn't get to play. I spent all of last year taking care of the elbow.

"I mean any pitcher who's gone through it will tell you it's not fun. It's not a pleasant experience watching your buddies getting to play, just sitting there with no chance of playing. I was really looking forward to getting some action this year and I didn't get any."

Still, remaining the ever optimist, he also realizes he is going to be well rested for the 2015 season when he officially gets back on the path to a full recovery.

"Exactly. I would say it was a disappointing year but then again I gave my arm an extra year of rest. I just skipped the rough year. Everybody always has a rough year their first year back from Tommy John surgery so it should be smooth sailing from here on out.

"I'm pumped. I haven't played in a game in two years. I'm ready to go. I really can't wait for Spring Training," he concluded.

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