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Rehab allows Pelfrey new opportunity

August 01, 2012|By: Jenn Bates | KWCH 12 Eyewitness Sports

{WICHITA, Ks.} — His players are already warming up, or should I say trying to stay cool, in the 94 degree weather at 10 a.m.  That's a little strange to say, 'his players.'  However, that's what they've become as of this past Saturday.  The Wichita Prospects are playing their second game today in the NBC World Series at Lawrence Dumont stadium, and ambling down the steps toward the dugout a little before 10:15 is their new pitching coach, Mike Pelfrey.

The last game Pelfrey pitched this year for the New York Mets was April 21st.  He neither won nor lost, just like his previous two starts, but he did record 3 strikeouts in 8 innings pitched giving up only 6 hits and just one earned run.  Five days after that start it was revealed that Pelfrey had a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, the injury that means Tommy John surgery and the end of a season.

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Turns out it wasn't the end of baseball, however, for the Wichita Heights stud and Wichita State ace.  This past Saturday 'Big Pelf' got a call asking him if he'd like to come help with the Wichita Prospects 18-year-old team.  Mike jumped at the opportunity.  "It kinda gives me a different perspective," says Pelfrey.  "I know that when I'm done playing, this will be a possiblity maybe.  I've thought about coaching, I don't know what level, but I thought this was kind of a stress-free opportunity to come out, get a different experience, a different view."

The view is absolutely different now for Pelfrey, who is spending one of his first summers in Wichita since he was taken by the Mets with the 9th overall pick in 2005.  Being able to spend time with his wife, 3 year-old son and 1 and-a-half year-old daughter is of course a welcome change but most of his focus is on being able to get back on the mound ahead of schedule.  "After surgery they told me to shoot for next May because it's {rehab} usually around 12 months but hopefully I get back around April 5th or 6th, whenever the start of next year is," says a hopeful Pelfrey. 

This year especially, he's got a lot of extra motivation to get back and help his team.  The Mets have been going downhill quickly, losing 13 of their first 15 games after the All-Star break.  The team also didn't make any moves by yesterday's trade deadline.  However, Pelfrey isn't letting his guys get away that easily.  "I've said to them that, I hope you guys know that it was the All-Star break, not the end of the year break that you guys are on."  Pelfrey adds, "I know they're out there trying and some things aren't going their way.  It's tough."

Maybe not nearly as tough as Pelfrey's first foray into coaching.  His new team lost Tuesday night 6-5 to the San Luis Obispo Blues, knocking the Prospects into the loser's bracket.  "You know, it was a first-time experience.  I didn't say a whole lot at first but as the game went on I got a little more comfortable and I expect to get better and better."

Sounds like this rehab and coaching stint could go hand in hand. 

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