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Stoudt Expecting Full Recovery from Elbow Surgery
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2019-12-04

Perkiomen School graduate hoping to play catch next week

 

            Next week, five months after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his right elbow, Levi Stoudt is scheduled to play catch. He is hopeful his recovery

Levi Stoudt shown pitching for Lehigh University.

from a procedure to replace his ulnar collateral ligament has turned the corner.

            "Most excited I've been since the (Major League Baseball) draft," Stoudt wrote in a text message.

           Since July, the Seattle Mariners prospect has continued his recovery from Tommy John surgery under the watchful eye of the organization that drafted him out of Lehigh University six months ago. Living in an apartment complex across the street from the Mariners' Spring Training facility in Peoria, Ariz. with another pitcher facing a similar prognosis, the Marlborough Township native spends approximately 20 hours a week on his rehabilitation program.

            Stoudt, who turned 22 on Monday, could return to action by the end of the 2020 season. The Perkiomen School graduate would like to pitch next summer, but says he would defer to the Mariners organization if his professional debut is delayed until 2021.

            "I'm progressing pretty well," said Stoudt, who has added 15 pounds of muscle. "If I'm healthy and strong, I would like to pitch next season."

            A third-round selection of the Mariners in the Major League Baseball Player Draft six months ago, Stoudt never got to throw a competitive pitch. An MRI discovered a slight tear in the ligament, located on the inside of the joint.

            Stoudt suspects he's been pitching with the issue for the last two seasons. Between his freshman and sophomore season with the Mountain Hawks, the pitcher said elbow soreness caused nagging pain and created recovery issues between starts.

            "I'm not sure when that soreness turned into more of an issue," said Stoudt, who averaged more than 63 innings in three seasons with Lehigh. "The trainers did everything they could. We thought it was normal soreness, but it was a little more than most guys experienced."

            At the end of his junior season, Stoudt's pitch velocity dipped into the low 90s. However, the pitcher managed more than one strikeout an inning and held opposing hitters to a .228 average. Despite that success, he opted to have the damaged ligament replaced with one from his leg.

           "I'm excited to see what I can do with a healthy elbow," Stoudt said.

           During the initial six weeks of rehab, while wearing a brace, he was only allowed to ride a stationary bike and work on strengthening his grip. Stoudt called it the "boring phase" of his recovery.

            "That was the hard part," said the pitcher, who arrived in Arizona on July 18, three days following the surgery in Philadelphia by Dr. Michael G. Ciccotti, the Phillies head physician.

            Stoudt – who had his brace removed in late August, and has since regained full range of motion in his right arm – started making dry throws in late October. The pitcher held a towel for resistance.

            Two weeks ago, he graduated to tossing a tennis ball off a wall. The program calls for Stoudt to make 25 throws at a time off a wall, from approximately 25 feet away, at 50 percent effort.

            "Nothing crazy," he wrote in a text.

            Then, at 21 weeks, Stoudt hopes to pick up a ball and glove and play catch with a rehab coach, then maybe with one of the younger players in the system who has undergone similar surgery. The pitcher, citing a high rate of success with the procedure, expressed certainty that he can fully recover and return throwing harder than ever.

            "I'm hoping all my hard work will cause that," Stoudt said. "This is the strongest I've ever felt in my life."


 

 

 

 

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