Wait and see
Stottlemyre testing arm by refusing to undergo surgery
Posted: Tuesday October 05, 1999 09:30 PM
Todd Stottlemyre decided not to have season ending surgery, because he had a special feeling about his team. Tom Hauck/Allsport
PHOENIX (AP) -- Todd Stottlemyre figures he's lucky to be
pitching anywhere, let alone Wednesday night's Game 2 of the
divisional playoffs against the New York Mets.
Four months ago, when he tore 70 percent of his rotator cuff, he
thought he might never pitch again. For the emotional, sometimes
hotheaded right-hander, this playoff run with the Arizona
Diamondbacks means more than all the others he's had.
"Even though I've been in the postseason before, each time to
me is more exciting and I appreciate it more," Stottlemyre said.
"I've been lucky. After going through this summer, not knowing if
I was ever going to pitch again, this is extra special.
"There's no guarantees physically for me in the future, and
there's no guarantees that the club will jell like this again."
Stottlemyre refused to undergo surgery after the May 17 injury
at San Francisco because he knew it meant he'd be through for the
season. He sensed the team was headed for a great year, and he
wanted to be a part of it. Besides, at age 34, he knew it could be
two years or more before he returned to pitching, if he ever
returned at all.
So he did something no pitcher had ever done -- come back from a
torn rotator cuff without surgery. Instead, Stottlemyre went
through extensive rehabilitation to strengthen his entire upper
body, especially in the area around the injury. The rotator cuff is
still torn, but the theory is that everything else is so strong it
makes up for it.
"He's got better stuff now than he did before he got hurt,"
catcher Kelly Stinnett said. "The last couple of times I caught
him, he had an exceptional slider. His curve ball has always been
good, but now he's got a little more movement on his fastball, and
he's got a mile an hour or two faster on his fastball. It's amazing
what happens when you get in the weight room."
Stottlemyre has had mixed results since his return Aug. 20. He's
gone 2-2, and blames most of his problems on location of pitches as
he went through what amounted to spring training to get back into
Now, he said, he feels no pain, even though doctors have told
him the arm could go on any pitch.
What concerns him more is whether he can corral his trademark
intensity, which tends to increase tremendously during the
"That's where I've gotten in trouble in the past," Stottlemyre
said. "The only way I have a chance to help the club and be
successful is to be able to control the intensity and have the
thought process that I'm going to take it one pitch at a time and
dump all the intensity into one pitch.
"With the intensity and
emotions of a playoff atmosphere, you can go crazy. I've been
there. I've been crazy."
Stottlemyre (6-3 overall) is honored that manager Buck Showalter
chose him to start Game 2.
This will be the seventh season Stottlemyre has pitched in the
He has lived through the good and bad. He was shelled for six
runs in two innings pitching for Toronto against Philadelphia in
the 1993 World Series. He surrendered two runs on six hits in eight
strong innings for Texas in Game 1 against the New York Yankees in
last year's AL divisional playoffs. Overall, the older he's gotten,
the better he's done.
"When I was younger in those situations, I didn't react the
right way," Stottlemyre said. "My thinking wasn't the right type
of thinking. My intensity was completely out of control, but those
experiences have helped me have better times."
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