A quick editor’s note: Thanks once again to Twins right-hander Trevor May for taking some time away from his Tommy John rehab schedule to host an edition of the MLBTR Mailbag as his latest entry in our Players’ Perspective series. Be sure to read each of Trevor’s three previous installments as well!
Thank you to everyone that sent over their questions. I had a really great time answering them all!
From Othar Z.:
What did it feel like when you learned that you were going to have Tommy John surgery?
Well, it felt bad. For a few big reasons.
- You lose an entire year of your career. I was, and still am, at a point in my career that it’s important for me to prove that I’m here to stay. You can’t do that if you’re not pitching.
- I had lost half of 2016 to a nagging injury that I couldn’t fully figure out until right at the end of the season. I spend 4 months in the winter working my butt off to get my back feeling good again, achieved that, only to get knocked down again with Tommy John. It’s like pulling yourself out of quicksand only to get slapped right back in.
- I want to play. Not playing sucks infinitely more than playing.
But, my overarching theme: silver-linings. I get a year to get my body into amazing condition. I get to pursue some business interests that I might not of been able to during 162 games. I also get to spend a whole year with my new wife, something we haven’t been able to do once in our entire relationship. In essence, I plan to be better after this storm is over.
From Samuel S.:
Reflecting on the Ben Revere trade in 2012, when you were traded away as a prospect earning a minor league salary, how difficult was the transition process, on both a personal and professional level?
For me, not actually as difficult as you think. I was traded smack dab in the middle of the offseason, for one, so I had a ton of time to prepare for the next year. I hadn’t lined up housing for Spring Training yet, there was time to pack up and move, etc. I’m sure if it were during the season, the logistics alone would be a pain. Also, I was still going to be in Florida for Spring Training (both the Phillies and Twins are in the Grapefruit League). That kept some familiarity.
The biggest thing is learning and getting to know your new staff and teammates, the organization and the overall feel. It takes getting used to. BUT, if you’re traded somewhere, you know they really wanted you for some reason. It gives you a little boost going into your first competition with a new team.
Also, I had kind of seen it coming. The Phillies had made a trade every offseason I had been with them. I had been mentioned in just about every one of them. Just kind of did the math.
From Judy K.:
Do you think pitchers are being babied by most MLB organizations with all the pitch counts and innings limits?
This is a classic “better safe than sorry” situation. Like I said previously, Tommy John (and any shoulder surgery really) can take years away from a player and the organization that invested in them. As the science improves and causes get clearer and clearer, limits are going to become more prevalent. I think any decision that results in longevity for a pitcher is a good one. That said, I also just want the ball. This is an interesting question for me, because I’m about to be one of those guys next year.
In short, I really think it’s case by case, but acknowledging that you should be patient when increasing workload or coming back from an injury is important.
From Omar J.:
What are the Angels going to do to improve their offense, this year and next?
Unfortunately, I am not a member of the Angels or their front office, so I can’t really speak to their plans. I do know they have Mike Trout, who I hear is super good. Like, 99 on The Show good.
From Weston R.:
What was it like being traded and do you have any advice for players being a part of trade rumors?
Think of it as moving to a new school. New opportunities, clean slate. The team that trades for you wants you.
What was your favorite part of being a minor leaguer?
My favorite part of being a minor leaguer….. hmmm. Maybe the constant availability of peanut butter and jelly? Varying shower water pressure/temperature? No. Honestly, seeing parts of the country you wouldn’t be able to see otherwise is something I’m grateful for. Also, just learning to play ball and how to take one day at a time. You grow up quick in the minor leagues.
Also a random Washington question, have you ever been to Fatty Patty’s in Vancouver, Washington?
No, I haven’t, but I will check it out. My hometown in 30 minutes north of Vancouver.
From Mark M.:
Do you consider yourself to be the best pitcher the Twins have? If not, why the lack of confidence?
I like that, haha. No. You can’t be the best if you’re hurt. Also, I’m a guy that will always think that I haven’t done anything yet. I’ll always put someone ahead of me so I have something to chase.
From Dylan G.:
How impressed are you with the recently returned Glen Perkins after undergoing two major shoulder surgeries and having been out since early 2016?
Glen and I were on team rehab for quite a while together. It’s always good to see one of us graduate. He’s done the work and get himself to a place where he can compete everyday. Not everyone returns from that type of surgery. So yes, I am very impressed and happy for him. Can’t wait to be on that field with him.
From Andrew F.:
Who would you say is the toughest hitter you ever faced that most people wouldn’t expect would be so difficult?
It’s the Big Leagues, so there aren’t any proverbial “easy outs.” For me, I answer this question based on length of at bats. Robbie Grossman is one of these guys. Really great feel for the strike zone, bat is in the zone for a long time and uses the whole field. I need a hitter to chase to some extent. Robbie doesn’t really do that. So, we have 10 pitch at-bats almost every time. Fun fact: he’s my first Major League strikeout, looking. (From Robbie: “Yeah, and it was a ball.”)
From Sam H.:
I am wondering if players and coaches get annoyed by fans yelling down to them in the bullpen at Target Field? Also if I tied a string to a ball with a pen to have a player sign it would I get kicked out??
If you’re heckling, absolutely. If you’re saying hello or cheering, we’re cool with it. It’s just a case by case thing, and it really depends on the person. Myself personally, I’m OK with some positive feedback!
If you came in with a string and pen you probably would not get kicked out, no. I cannot guarantee that it will be signed though.
From Laurel T.:
Do you guys ever play the carnival throwing games, and are you 100% guaranteed a prize because of your ability?
I really cannot remember the last time I played one of those games, but we do have a better chance than most probably. 100%? No. Better than most? Yes.
Speaking of the “unwritten rules”—if you are the pitcher and everyone knows that a batter is going to be hit for retribution of an earlier misdeed, is it really difficult to intentionally hit someone with a pitch? Not skills-wise, but emotionally? It seems like that would be hard.
It probably isn’t easy, but I can’t really speak to the situation.
Do you keep baseballs from important achievements, and if so, how do you organize them/keep them?
I do. I have all of my Major League firsts packed away in storage for the moment. I think I would display it all in some way eventually!
If you were active during Players Weekend, what would your nickname have been on your jersey?
I was dubbed “Lurch” as a rookie in 2008, and it stuck.
When the team travels, do the players go out to eat together? Do you typically get to do what you want on an off day in an away city?
We mix in team dinners pretty often and break into groups sometimes as well. The bullpen will usually eat together regularly. I personally get lunch or dinner with a teammate pretty much everyday. And yes, when we’re off for a day, we have the freedom go out and about.
From Myra K.:
What’s in the backpack that a relief pitcher carries out to the bullpen?
- Candy. Everyone loves candy.
- Energy items. Red Bull, Monster, 5-hour energy, coffee, pre-workout. Really whatever the guys need.
- Warm up equipment. Items need to get the body ready to throw.
- Icy Hot. That muscle cream to warm up the body.
- Pain Relievers. Duh
- Energy Bars and Sunflower Seeds.
Thanks again for all of the questions!