DUNEDIN, Fla. — For aspiring Toronto Blue Jay Andrew Jay (Ajay) Meyer of Hamler,Ohio, playing professional baseball is his ultimate goal and no amount of injuries will stand in his way.
After practice ended at the Jays’ Bobby Mattick training centre on Wednesday he sat in the rehab facility with his athletic trainers and iced his right shoulder.
It’s only the second injury for the pitcher of the Vancouver Canadians’ of the A Division Northwest Baseball League. In his senior year, while playing Division II ball at Ohio’s Ashland University, the 6-7 Meyer tore his ACL, putting him on the sidelines for the entire season.
“I got a little [contusion] in my right shoulder, so they’re just doing a bit of therapy to get it all out,” said Meyer, 25, while walking the bases under the searing Florida sun. “It feels pretty good.”
The minor injury to his shoulder is not being seen as a set back at all. The 6-7 pitcher has experienced first hand what it is like to be sidelined with an injury. When he was in his senior year at Ohio’s Ashland University playing Division II baseball he tore his ACL and was out for the season.
“Tearing my ACL helped me a lot because it showed me what I was made of. When I first tore it, it messed up my senior year and then all the downs hit me. But then after I started rehab it [encouraged] me to do better and actually get drafted.”
The senior year for a baseball player is crucial in order to get drafted and Meyer returned the following year and played for the team.
Surgery to repair the torn ACL was needed and rehab was precise in order to get Meyer back in shape like he was before the injury.
“They had me do stretches for the first month and I didn’t start running until about three to four months into it.”
Baseball is not only a physical game but a mental one as well. The pressure that pitchers face throughout innings is also unique and daunting; all eyes are on the mound.
Despite wrestling with mental ramifications of an injury, Meyer credits his parents for helping him stay positive, and that family support was the push he needed to get back on the field, he said.
“You always get down no matter what injury you have. I was pretty confident that I could get through it,” said Meyer.
The 25-year-old pitcher was drafted by the Jays as a free agent last June. He received the call minutes after the MLB draft.
“It was unbelievable at first; I didn’t know what to say. I said ‘yeah’ but I was stuttering.”
Meyer practices every morning with his fellow pitchers during spring training and makes sure to go for treatment immediately after to ensure that his arm is in shape.
He is confident in rebounding from his latest injury and is excited to see the start of the season: “I’m not worried about my arm at all. Never.”