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Mayza Celebrates ‘Small Gains’
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2019-11-26

            Ten weeks after undergoing reconstructive surgery, Tim Mayza has full range of motion in his left elbow. Last week, he received permission to discard the brace, which

Tim Mayza, shown deliverijng a pitch in his Major League

debut, is determined to return from surgery to replace the 

ulnar collateral ligament and repair the left flexor tendon

in his left elbow.

has been protecting the joint, during his weekly appointment last Thursday. In two weeks, the injured Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher hopes to begin weighted exercised in both his wrists.

            "I celebrate the small gains," Mayza said.

            Lengthy recoveries from surgical procedures have become common for Major League pitchers. However, the experience was new for Mayza, whose only previous experience in an operating room came when his wisdom teeth were removed at age of 19.

            "Going through the surgery was the scary part," he said.

            Though his recovery from a procedure to replace the ulnar collateral ligament – which connects the humerus and ulna bones – and repair the left flexor tendon is expected to take approximately 18 months, the Upper Hanover native is determined to return stronger and better in time for spring training in February of 2021.

            "I'm pretty motivated to get back," said Mayza, a 2010 graduate of Upper Perkiomen High School.

            "I have no doubt that my rehab is going to go smoothly. The motivation comes easy. I'm taking it day by day. I push myself within the restrictions of my program."

            Mayza, who turns 28 on Jan. 15, ruptured the ulnar collateral ligament and sustained a Grade 3 tear of his left flexor tendon against the New York Yankees on Sept. 14. He dropped to one knee after his 3-2 pitch sailed behind Didi Gregorius, and immediately felt a burning sensation – and pain – in his left arm.

            "I didn't want to think about the injury," said Mayza, who underwent successful surgery Sept. 18 in Dallas by Dr. Keith Meister, the head team physician for the Texas Rangers. "It's a bad feeling to know you need Tommy John surgery."

            Three days a week, the pitcher makes the 45-minute drive from his Lancaster home to Harrisburg for treatment. Increasing range of motion in his elbow and left wrist, from where the doctor removed the ligament that was utilized in his elbow, has been a top priority. At home he works with bands.

            "When I feel good, I want to push (the program)," he said. "I have to remind myself that this is a long tedious process."

            Mayza looks forward to each Thursday, when a new exercise is introduced. Last week, medical personnel loosened the brace he's been wearing for six weeks.

            The player checks in with the Blue Jays once a month. Twice a month, Mayza flies to Dunedin, Fla, – their spring training home – to be examined by the team's medical personnel.

            In February, Mayza expects to continue his rehabilitation in Dunedin. He said he could begin playing catch in the middle of May, eight months out from surgery.

            The hard thrower, who was placed on the 10-Day Injured List on May 26 with left ulnar neuritis, says he thrived on making sure was physically able to pitch as often as possible. When Mayza suffered the season-ending injury, he was among the American League Leaders in appearances.

            After pitching on consecutive days, Mayza rarely threw on three straight days. The left hander said Manager Charlie Montoyo tried to avoid using him a third straight day.

            "I felt prepared physically take the ball every day," said the pitcher, who appeared in 68 games and registered 55 strikeouts in 51 1/3 innings. "I loved being available on most days. It allowed me to have a short memory."


 

 

 

 

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