Austin DeCarr, still rehabbing his way back from Tommy John surgery, is set to return soon.

TAMPA, FL -- Missing the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, right-handed pitcher, Austin DeCarr, who is close to returning to game action soon, looks to continue to improve and take what he worked on during his time in rehab to the mound.

Austin DeCarr has not pitched in game over a year.  Although DeCarr was shocked to hear the news that he would have to undergo Tommy John surgery, what has been even more surprising is learning that being out of the game has had many positive aspects too.

“Looking back on it and going through the entire year on rehab, I found a lot of positives that have come out of it, both baseball-wise and mentally,” DeCarr said. “I developed a lot and being away from the game for a year has made me really appreciate a lot of things that I missed.”

DeCarr has taken advantage of the year off. He was not able to pick up a baseball for the first four months after having surgery so it gave him plenty of time to train in the gym and do some shoulder work in order to help in the rehabbing of his elbow. He was able to gain some muscle too and work on perfecting his mechanics also.

“I put on a little bit of weight and some strength,” DeCarr said. “I definitely see a difference [in] a lot of mechanical adjustments and other stuff that have gone along with it; I have definitely seen a physical difference.”

During Spring Training DeCarr was not able to pitch in any games but he was continually working on his mechanics and his pitch location, while appreciating being around the team after spending so much time away from them.

“I didn’t throw in any games but it was good to be around the guys and be back out there, DeCarr said. “I’m always working on something.  Right now pitch-wise I’ll continue to develop that fastball location along with the changeup and breaking ball. There’s always things to work on.”

DeCarr was able to get back on the half mound on February 19th and he was able to continue to develop his fastball location and especially his changeup.

“I was able to really develop better location, focus on keeping the ball down,” DeCarr said. “The biggest thing I learned is fastball location, you got to keep the ball down because the hitters in professional baseball will be able to catch up to any velocity.”

One of the benefits of having Tommy John surgery is having an enhanced changeup and DeCarr has seen the positive effect that the surgery has on that pitch first-hand. He is now more confident in his ability to throw it his changeup. DeCarr believes that his changeup is improving and he is getting better, especially since it is something that he has been working on daily.

“I didn’t throw my changeup with a lot of confidence before.  [Actually] before that I didn’t really throw my changeup at all,” DeCarr said. “In the rehab throwing progression I was able to throw them a lot and develop a little bit more feel [and] as I continue to build innings and throw it more I will continue gaining confidence in it and more and more feel for it.”

This year DeCarr needs to work on gaining more professional experience first and foremost. Since getting drafted by the Yankees in 2014, he has only pitched in 23.1 innings. He has gotten 24 strikeouts over the course of his time on the mound but DeCarr is yearning for more professional experience.

“The best thing for me would be to just gain experience with innings, I haven’t thrown a lot since getting drafted,” DeCarr said “This surgery has kind of been a long year off but I think the experience that will come with throwing more innings and developing my pitches and developing my location will be benefits down the road.”

While an exact date for his game return has not been set yet everyone knows it is getting closer.  And as the time get closer and closer for DeCarr to pitch in his first game since his surgery his arm continues to get better and feel better, day by day.

“My arm feels great I feel like everything has come together a little bit more each day,” DeCarr said.

Throughout his rehabbing journey, DeCarr feels that he is not the same pitcher that he was since he has gotten drafted. He has been able to gain strength, improve on both his fastball and changeup location, and develop more mentally. Being out of the game for a year has also allowed DeCarr to appreciate baseball more and when he returns he plans on making a huge impact.

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