Hoover In The Strengthening Phase

Jesse Hoover, who has missed the last two seasons with a back injury, resumed throwing in the beginning of August and finally began pitching off a mound again in October. Putting his back to the test, Hoover says he is now concentrating on gaining strength in preparation for the 2007 season.

"I'm done throwing now and I'm supposed to be start throwing again once everybody else does about mid-January, at least just playing catch," Jesse Hoover told PinstripesPlus.com. "I should continue on with everyone in Spring Training if everything goes according to plan."

Hoover started out throwing off a rehab mound at first, and after a few weeks of that, returned to pitching off a regular mound in the middle of October. He threw normal bullpen sessions for six weeks before the Yankees shut him down to allow him to rest before Spring Training.

"It felt good," he said of his back after the six weeks of bullpen sessions. "I never really had any issues throwing. I'd say the last two or three weeks I was at full strength. Where I'm at velocity-wise, I really have no idea. I feel pretty good but I don't think I'm where I was a couple of years ago. It went well according from what we were going off of health-wise. For right now, everything feels good, feels strong, and I hope it continues."

Committed to testing his back while keeping him healthy, the Yankees didn't want to take any chances by extending him and they wanted to make sure he got his normal offseason rest.

"I was only throwing fastballs for three or four weeks and I mixed in some changeups," he said of his bullpen sessions. "I never did get to the curveball. I was scheduled to, according to our throwing program, in the next week or so, but we got to a point where they wanted me to have a good solid six weeks off before I started throwing again so we shut it down. My main concern is staying healthy. The offspeed stuff will come."

In the 'been there, done that' category, Jesse Hoover has been down this road before. Dealing with the same injury a year ago, it was about this point in the year where he was throwing bullpen sessions in his rehab process. So what's the difference this time around?

"I feel very good at this point. I feel stronger than I did last year I guess at this point," he revealed. "Last year I was kind of on the same schedule. I threw bullpens and stuff but I definitely feel better than I did then. I feel a lot stronger in my core. My arm actually feels a lot better too. I've been doing a lot more shoulder work and stuff with the trainers."

Physically feeling better than a year ago has also made him both mentally strong and more confident in his eventual return to pitching in live games. Normally a bit grounded about his rehab process, Jesse Hoover just seems more optimistic about his return than ever before.
"I'm a lot more confident right now knowing - I obviously had a setback in Spring Training [last year] after I was healthy for a while - but I'm not worried about that right now," said the 24-year old. "I feel very confident that I'll stay strong in Spring Training mainly because I didn't go through the same exact process as I did last year."

"Last year I went through all my rehab stuff, but there's a few things we did differently in the rehab process this year. I went to a physical therapist outside of the Yankees, which they sent me to. It wasn't something I had to do on my own. They were really good about that. They sent me to him and he did a few things differently with some of the exercises and do some other stuff."

Hoover's confidence in his return is mostly due to the fact he truly believes he and the Yankees have done everything they can to create a long-term solution to his back problem rather than going for the quick fix.

"I guess I feel like I just took care of the problem more than just strengthening to temporarily fix it," he admitted. "I feel like we've established the stability that I needed before I started strengthening. Mentally, obviously it's hard to say until you get into games and everything, I feel very good right now as far as being able to have success again and be able to be back to where I was."

More confident than ever in his eventual return, especially feeling strong after putting his back to the test with six weeks of bullpen sessions, it almost appears that he's ahead of schedule in his rehab. While that might be the case with his back injury, Hoover says there's more to it than that.

"I wouldn't say I'm ahead of schedule," said the right-hander, "I'd say I'm on schedule. I still have a long ways to go arm strength-wise. I've had so much time off that I am going to have to be patient with my arm. Guys tend to be in a hurry in their rehab. I've definitely done that. I might have pushed it too much this fall. Everything went fine and I didn't have any problems, but I just have to be careful not to get ahead of myself. I'm definitely on schedule at this point."

Off for six weeks, at least from throwing off a mound, Hoover's plan is to remain in Tampa for a majority of the offseason to continue working out at the minor league complex and he has set his sights on joining his farmhands in Spring Training.

"Right now I'm thinking I'm going to be ready to play at the end of March," an excited Hoover told us. "I've talked with the trainers, I've talked with Nardi Contreras, and we've all kind of agreed that there's no reason to take things too slow where we're real conservative because I've pretty much went through the testing phase and the trial phase the last two months."

"I've put my back pretty much everything it's going to go through in Spring Training, minus all the fielding work and stuff like that. Throwing-wise, I've definitely put it to the test. I've pushed it and I haven't been hesitant or anything. Right now, in my mind, I'm preparing for the beginning of the season in the beginning of April to be ready to play."

With his back passing every test they've thrown at it through the rehab process, Hoover says his road back to the mound and pitching in live games has reached the next phase - the strengthening phase.

"Now I'm in more strengthening, put on a little more weight. Over a long season you tend to lose strength and lose weight. Right now I'm in the weight room trying to gain weight. I'm working out with our strength guys. I'm concentrating a lot on shoulder strength and core strength too obviously for my back."

"I'm basically preparing myself for 142 games, which I haven't been through, ever. That's what I'm trying to do, to mentally and physically prepare myself for that," he concluded.

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n \r\n\"I'm done throwing now and I'm supposed to be start throwing again once everybody else does about mid-January, at least just playing catch,\" Jesse Hoover told PinstripesPlus.com. \"I should continue on with everyone in Spring Training if everything goes according to plan.\"
\r\n
\r\nHoover started out throwing off a rehab mound at first, and after a few weeks of that, returned to pitching off a regular mound in the middle of October. He threw normal bullpen sessions for six weeks before the Yankees shut him down to allow him to rest before Spring Training.
\r\n
\r\n\"It felt good,\" he said of his back after the six weeks of bullpen sessions. \"I never really had any issues throwing. I'd say the last two or three weeks I was at full strength. Where I'm at velocity-wise, I really have no idea. I feel pretty good but I don't think I'm where I was a couple of years ago. It went well according from what we were going off of health-wise. For right now, everything feels good, feels strong, and I hope it continues.\"
\r\n
\r\nCommitted to testing his back while keeping him healthy, the Yankees didn't want to take any chances by extending him and they wanted to make sure he got his normal offseason rest.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was only throwing fastballs for three or four weeks and I mixed in some changeups,\" he said of his bullpen sessions. \"I never did get to the curveball. I was scheduled to, according to our throwing program, in the next week or so, but we got to a point where they wanted me to have a good solid six weeks off before I started throwing again so we shut it down. My main concern is staying healthy. The offspeed stuff will come.\"
\r\n
\r\nIn the 'been there, done that' category, Jesse Hoover has been down this road before. Dealing with the same injury a year ago, it was about this point in the year where he was throwing bullpen sessions in his rehab process. So what's the difference this time around?
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel very good at this point. I feel stronger than I did last year I guess at this point,\" he revealed. \"Last year I was kind of on the same schedule. I threw bullpens and stuff but I definitely feel better than I did then. I feel a lot stronger in my core. My arm actually feels a lot better too. I've been doing a lot more shoulder work and stuff with the trainers.\"
\r\n
\r\nPhysically feeling better than a year ago has also made him both mentally strong and more confident in his eventual return to pitching in live games. Normally a bit grounded about his rehab process, Jesse Hoover just seems more optimistic about his return than ever before.\r\n\"I'm a lot more confident right now knowing - I obviously had a setback in Spring Training [last year] after I was healthy for a while - but I'm not worried about that right now,\" said the 24-year old. \"I feel very confident that I'll stay strong in Spring Training mainly because I didn't go through the same exact process as I did last year.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"Last year I went through all my rehab stuff, but there's a few things we did differently in the rehab process this year. I went to a physical therapist outside of the Yankees, which they sent me to. It wasn't something I had to do on my own. They were really good about that. They sent me to him and he did a few things differently with some of the exercises and do some other stuff.\"
\r\n
\r\nHoover's confidence in his return is mostly due to the fact he truly believes he and the Yankees have done everything they can to create a long-term solution to his back problem rather than going for the quick fix.
\r\n
\r\n\"I guess I feel like I just took care of the problem more than just strengthening to temporarily fix it,\" he admitted. \"I feel like we've established the stability that I needed before I started strengthening. Mentally, obviously it's hard to say until you get into games and everything, I feel very good right now as far as being able to have success again and be able to be back to where I was.\"
\r\n
\r\nMore confident than ever in his eventual return, especially feeling strong after putting his back to the test with six weeks of bullpen sessions, it almost appears that he's ahead of schedule in his rehab. While that might be the case with his back injury, Hoover says there's more to it than that.
\r\n
\r\n\"I wouldn't say I'm ahead of schedule,\" said the right-hander, \"I'd say I'm on schedule. I still have a long ways to go arm strength-wise. I've had so much time off that I am going to have to be patient with my arm. Guys tend to be in a hurry in their rehab. I've definitely done that. I might have pushed it too much this fall. Everything went fine and I didn't have any problems, but I just have to be careful not to get ahead of myself. I'm definitely on schedule at this point.\"
\r\n
\r\nOff for six weeks, at least from throwing off a mound, Hoover's plan is to remain in Tampa for a majority of the offseason to continue working out at the minor league complex and he has set his sights on joining his farmhands in Spring Training.
\r\n
\r\n\"Right now I'm thinking I'm going to be ready to play at the end of March,\" an excited Hoover told us. \"I've talked with the trainers, I've talked with Nardi Contreras, and we've all kind of agreed that there's no reason to take things too slow where we're real conservative because I've pretty much went through the testing phase and the trial phase the last two months.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I've put my back pretty much everything it's going to go through in Spring Training, minus all the fielding work and stuff like that. Throwing-wise, I've definitely put it to the test. I've pushed it and I haven't been hesitant or anything. Right now, in my mind, I'm preparing for the beginning of the season in the beginning of April to be ready to play.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith his back passing every test they've thrown at it through the rehab process, Hoover says his road back to the mound and pitching in live games has reached the next phase - the strengthening phase.
\r\n
\r\n\"Now I'm in more strengthening, put on a little more weight. Over a long season you tend to lose strength and lose weight. Right now I'm in the weight room trying to gain weight. I'm working out with our strength guys. I'm concentrating a lot on shoulder strength and core strength too obviously for my back.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm basically preparing myself for 142 games, which I haven't been through, ever. That's what I'm trying to do, to mentally and physically prepare myself for that,\" he concluded.
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