Frare Stronger Than Ever

CHARLESTON, SC - Any athlete will tell you that the road to recovery from an injury is one of the most difficult things. They will tell you that it’s slow, painful, and hard, and Caleb Frare is no different after going two full years not pitching in games. But what he also says is that it’s worth it.

[Photo by Jerry Coli, courtesy of the Charleston RiverDogs]

Coming off an injury and two surgeries in two years, the Montana native had his work cut out for him. He knew he had a lot to prove in this season with the Charleston RiverDogs which is not only his first full professional season ever but his first since being injured back in his debut season in 2012.

This season so far has been working out well for him. He and his coaches believe that he is doing everything he can to be his best, even after having a rough start.

“Yeah, it started off a little rough," Frare said, referring to his 5.79 ERA in April. "I didn’t quite know what I was doing on the mound at the start. I was a little shy with my fastball at first, but now it’s my best pitch and it’s what I’ve been throwing the most,” Frare said.

And that fastball has proven well. He is pitching with a 2.48 ERA, 43 strikeouts, and 14 walked batters in 40 innings pitched this season, posting a scintillating 1.47 ERA since April. He’s even seen a velocity spike too, cranking it up to 95 mph a few times this season.

"Caleb has a fastball from the left side that gets guys out like no other," Charleston pitching coach Tim Norton said. "It’s tough to pick up and swing at it. He’s really been limited in his pro career because of his injuries and surgeries and hasn’t pitched as much, but this season he’s had more chances at the mound and that fastball is killer."

Because of his time off the field with his injuries and surgeries over the previous two years, the coaches wanted to ease him back into the game and make sure he was truly healthy and that he stays healthy in the future. It's the biggest reason why Frare, a starting pitcher when he was drafted, has been pitching out of the bullpen this season.

“We didn’t want to bombard him with 150 innings this year, knowing his past," Norton said. "We need to make sure he is staying healthy and getting enough rest but also that he’s getting enough work in as well. We want his development to continue.”

As far as getting his power back after his Tommy John surgery, Frare was a little hesitant, but understandably so.

“It was a little tough. It was mental for me, being able to remember how to pitch and being able to read the batter’s swings and knowing what they are looking for and what they are not in different situations, and reading how they swing at my pitch and deciding what to throw next,” he said.

Judging from the numbers and from his performance over the past three months he has rediscovered his pre-surgery form. Now, as the middle of the season is upon him, he reflects on the past and looks forward to the future.

“I want to improve this season by getting more control with my secondary pitches and stay where I am coming out of the bullpen. It’s a good place for me. It’s truly been a blessing,” he mentioned.

It remains to be seen if his long-term future resides either in the bullpen or back in a starting capacity. However, it's clearly evident that he has found a home in the bullpen these days and Charleston manager Luis Dorante has high hopes for Frare as this season progresses.

“He can move on as quick as he wants. He’s a lefty specialty that throws 92 mph-plus and three strike pitches. He can do big things for himself. No doubt about it," Dorante concluded.

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