Zych hasn't thrown off a mound since last October because of shoulder issues and offseason surgery
PEORIA, Ariz. — The entire process felt a little too short for Tony Zych. He was finally able to step on a pitcher’s mound for the first time since October and approximately 20 throws later he was done.
“It was really good,” he said. “Everything felt great. It only took a few throws to get comfortable. Obviously, I wasn’t trying to do too much, just hit the glove and feel good about it.”
As part of his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery, Zych has been on a throwing program in recent weeks that features up to 120 throws per day. To get only 20 off the mound felt unfinished, but he understands the process needs to be slow and controlled.
“It was probably 85 percent effort level,” he said. “I just want to make sure I feel comfortable on the mound the first few times before I start cranking it up.”
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Controlling his emotion and not rushing his recovery has been a work in progress for Zych. He pushed too hard in his recovery last year and it only made things worse.
“Half of those guys out there said they had a shock collar for me in case I started ramping it up,” he said. “It’s a hard thing for me. But with growing up and maturing, I am learning how to do those things better. But in a game, I don’t know if I will be able to.”
The comfort level of throwing off the mound helped Zych work through a few mechanical issues that were nagging during flat ground throwing sessions.
“With the throwing program, I’ve been doing a lot of long toss and my mechanics felt a little different,” he said. “But getting on the slope after the first few throws, I felt like I cleaned up a lot of stuff mechanically that had been bugging me for the last week or so. I was happy about that.”
It was the third day in a row of throwing for Zych — also a big step. The plan is for him to have a rest day on Wednesday and throw another bullpen session in two to three days. He will likely throw a handful of bullpen sessions, move to live batting practice and simulated game before appearing in Cactus League games.
Reliever Steve Cishek (hip surgery) has yet to start throwing off the mound.
First baseman D.J. Peterson will be limited the next few days with a leg issue that he suffered in the first Cactus League game.