Enns Moving Fairly Quickly

Left-hander Dietrich Enns was in the midst of a fantastic season with the high-A Tampa Yankees this past year, posting a tiny 1.42 ERA through his first 13 appearances and striking out a batter per inning pitched, before succumbing to Tommy John surgery in early June. He's been rehabbing his way back and things are moving fairly quickly for him as he reached a milestone this past week.

Statistically he had been one of the better pitchers for the Yankees down on the farm since his 19th round selection out of Central Michigan University back in 2012. He debuted with a 2.11 ERA for the Staten Island Yankees that same year, cruised through the South Atlantic League the following year with a 0.61 ERA for the Charleston RiverDogs, but then hit a speed bump in the second-half of 2013 when he transitioned to the starting role with the Tampa Yankees, posting 5.63 ERA in nine appearances [seven starts].

He appeared to turn a corner this year when he went back to the high-A level, holding opposing batters to a paltry .184 batting average.

"I started pitching with some confidence," Enns said. "I worked with our pitching coordinator and one of our pitching coaches in Charleston, Danny Borrell, and we started shaping up my breaking ball. It was a big pitch for me [this year] and just being able to control my fastball better, and tightening up my breaking ball were big pluses for me."

Like he had done in Charleston a year ago, Enns was cruising right along in dominating fashion pitching out of the bullpen for Tampa this year when the need for Tommy John surgery took him somewhat by surprise.

"It was a little disappointing just because it wasn't one of those freakish pops that you see or hear," he said. "Mine was just a little tightness that I had dealt with before in my forearm. It was just a little bit tighter than normal -- you know, post-game tightness was just tighter than normal and I got an MRI and found out that it was torn. It was kind of a shock."

It wasn't a total shock, however. Enns had been experiencing some mild forearm tightness for some time actually. In fact, it began a year ago toward the tail-end of the 2013 season and an MRI revealed nothing more than a low grade muscle strain, but it was enough of a factor for the Yankees to send him to the bullpen in 2014 in an effort to relieve some of the stress to his arm.

"I had forearm tightness before," he admitted. "At the end of [2013] I had some forearm tightness and got shut down briefly at the end of the year and at the beginning of this year that's why I got moved to the bullpen from the starting role, because my forearm was a little tight.

"I felt fine though and I was pitching through it. There wasn't really any issue so we didn't really think twice about it and then it became just a one-time thing; after an outing in Brevard [County] I just felt something that didn't feel right."

There were no warning signs other than the mild forearm tightness, however. Stuff-wise there were no dips in his velocity and his control hadn't evaded him much either. In fact, both aspects of his game were right where they needed to be right up until his last appearance in 2014.

"I didn't really feel any different and there weren't any restrictions or anything like that. Even in that last outing when I started feeling tightness it was just one of those things, I didn't expect it to be torn or anything like that. The velo was good. It was the same as it always is, it was one of my better games control-wise I'd say, it was just a freak thing. I just didn't hear a pop."

Still, he required Tommy John surgery and had the procedure on June 10th, a mere two weeks after his final appearance of the season. The Illinois native has remained in Tampa the entire time during his rehab and things have gone very well thus far.

In fact, he just began his throwing program this past week, beginning at 25 throws from 60 feet and will continue to do that for another week before moving up to 50 throws at the same distance for the following month, and then progressing to further distances from there.

"I'm pumped. It's been moving fairly quick. I've just been going to the minor league complex everyday and rehabbing ever since I had surgery.

"It's been going well. I haven't had any issues or problems. My elbow feels great right now, no issues at all right now. I'm ready to start playing catch," he concluded.

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