Matt Reynolds recited the progressive steps of a rehabbing relief pitcher as if he had extensive experience with the disabled list.
The Arizona Diamondbacks left-hander from St. Charles actually is enduring the first DL stint of his professional career, but the progression of catch to flat ground to mound to bullpen session sounds familiar nonetheless.
“It’s very similar to the routine you have in the offseason, getting ready to get your arm going again,” Reynolds said Tuesday. “I would think that it’ll all come back to you.”
Reynolds hopes a history of health takes over again once he returns. He’s been on the DL with a slight tear in the ulnar collateral ligament of his throwing elbow since June 11, and only resumed throwing again July 24.
“It’s one of those things that you never want to happen, but sometimes you can’t avoid getting hurt,” Reynolds, 28, said. “Then while you’re hurt, you kind of feel like you’re not part of the team because everyone is going out there working hard every single day and you’re just doing your rehab, trying to do everything you can to get back on the field.”
Before his injury – which Reynolds said “just kind of came on; it wasn’t one throw, but just kind of developed” – Reynolds was on his way to his strongest season since becoming a full-time major leaguer in 2011.
A Colorado Rockie before a November 2012 trade sent him to the NL West rival Diamondbacks, Reynolds had compiled a 1.98 ERA in 30 appearances, striking out 23 batters in 271/3 innings. His ERA was sub-1.00 as late as May 15.
Reynolds was on pace to challenge his previous highs for appearances – 73 in 2011 and 71 last season – as Arizona remained in contention for a postseason berth. Entering Wednesday, the Diamondbacks trailed the Cincinnati Reds by 41/2 games for the NL’s second wild card and were 6 games behind the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.
Reynolds expects to be cleared today to throw from 90 feet. He hopes to throw from flat ground – simulating the pitching motion, not playing catch – next week, and to throw bullpen sessions from a mound the week after. The Diamondbacks prescribed six weeks of inactivity shortly after Reynolds landed on the DL.
“Ideally, I’d like to get my arm strength back up and be able to pitch before the season’s over,” Reynolds said, “then head into the offseason making sure I’m strong and strengthened up. Ensure I’m all right and go from there.”
Reynolds visited his alma mater, St. Charles East, and threw out the first pitch June 1, when the Saints hosted Wheaton North in a 4A sectional final.
The Diamondbacks were in town to play the Cubs, and Reynolds figured he injured his left elbow later on a road trip that also included stops in Texas and St. Louis.
His most recent appearance came June 9, when he allowed a run and two hits against the San Francisco Giants. Reynolds rehabs at Chase Field in Phoenix when the Diamondbacks are at home and at the club’s spring training facility in Scottsdale, Ariz., when the team is on the road.