“Ask Sam” – Your Baseball Questions Answered By MLB Coach Sam Perlozzo March 2016

Ask Sam Perlozzo - Twins

Welcome to the latest “Ask Sam.”

I’m Sam Perlozzo and I’m the minor league infield and baserunning coordinator for the Minnesota Twins. A former manager and coach at the major league level, I am also one of Professional Baseball Instruction’s Major League Advisors. Each month, I answer your baseball-related questions.

Inside BaseballBefore we get into this month’s questions, I want to remind you about something brand new that I’m involved in and very excited about. Fellow PBI Advisor Leo Mazzone and I have teamed up with former MLB players Roy Halladay, Dave Magadan, Jody Reed, Tom Foley and others on a new website called Inside Baseball. We offer the world’s largest online library of baseball training videos with proven advice and training methods designed to help baseball players of all abilities improve their game. I hope you’ll take a few moments to check out the website; there’s a lot of excellent information there.

Now, let’s get to your questions. And remember, if you have something you’d like to ask, email me directly – AskSam@baseballclinics.com.

Pro baseball tryout

Photo courtesy of mlb.com

Q: Hey Sam – My son is returning to baseball for the 1st time in 3 years. He is coming off shoulder surgery where a cyst was removed in December of 2015; he has also had elbow surgery for a nerve that was being pinched in 2013. He is currently 21-years old and only played a partial season at a community college right out of high school. My question is where does he even begin – should he be a walk-on somewhere, or should he try to contact coaches? I’m kind of at a loss for best way to approach this. He is a LHP/1st baseman and very anxious to get back on the field. Thank you for your time. Ron Calabria

A: Ron, it sounds as if your son has had a rough time being healthy. The good thing is that he is starting to play again. I see where he played some at a CC and that’s good. If he really wants back at it, he needs to try to find some summer leagues where he can get some exposure. I think the CC is a great choice, especially if he is healthy. There are lots of leagues out there; you just have to track them down.

Contacting coaches is a good thing to do. I am assuming your son is or was a good player before he got hurt. So it would be natural for people to want to see him play to earn a spot on the roster. After reading over your question again, I see now that he is a little older than I thought. If you’re expecting to get a shot is pro ball, then you would need to find out where in your area a team might be having a tryout camp. I must warn you that it isn’t easy to get back in. I would need to know more information on just exactly what you are trying to accomplish. I will tell you that if you want to try out, make sure that he is in top shape and not let that get in the way of his real skills.

Good luck finding a tryout camp in the near future. Don’t give up if the first time doesn’t work. Nerves sometimes get in the way. So best of luck. Sam

Tennis elbow

Photo courtesy of thegameportal.net

Q: My son is 6’5 and 215 pounds. We play catch and he just pounds my hand throwing hard. When he gets on the mound he has great control but the velocity isn’t as good. He has had tennis elbow but has recently had a shot and is using a band. What might we do to find that velocity? Matt Gordon

A: Matt, I have a few concerns about your question. Mostly, is if he is totally healthy. I’m not sure how your son got tennis elbow, and it must be serious enough that he got a shot. And I’m not sure what a band is. So if he is still wearing the band I would assume he is still not totally healthy. So that would be an obvious reason why he isn’t throwing as hard as before. I would tell you to shut him down until he is pain-free and to not risk further injury.

Now let’s assume the he IS healthy! If that is the case I would offer two reasons that would cause loss of velocity. Number one would be that he is free and easy when he plays catch with you but as soon as he gets on the mound he tenses up. That would cause his natural throwing mechanics to stress and not be as natural as when he throws with you.

Another reason could be that he is worried so much with his control, he starts to aim the ball, causing further tension and thus not letting the ball go as he normally does. I know this sounds very similar to the first reason but they are two separate causes. One, that he is nervous, and the other that he is too self conscious and aims the ball. Fear vs self esteem. Either way, you need to find out if he is totally healthy. And if he is, you need to find a way to tell him to just let it go. Giving up velocity to gain control is not going to work in the long run. Hey, if he throws that hard, tell him to go for the gusto. Failure is just a bump in the road. Hard work and patience will get him over the hump. Now go get him 100% and let it ride!! Sam

Jackie Robinson

Photo courtesy of SportingNews.com

Q: Sam, I was wondering if you can answer a few questions for the thesis paper i am doing, it is about the impact of Jackie Robinson in baseball and the history America. I am also a baseball player myself, and i will be greatly thankful if you can answer these questions.
1) What is your opinion about Jackie Robinson, did his story had an affect on you in anyway?
2)What is your opinion on his impact on black society in America?
Thanks, Enrico Untalan

A: Enrico, Jackie Robinson played a huge part in baseball moving forward in the world up to date. Breaking the color barrier was a huge accomplishment of major magnitude. Only a person with great skills and bravery could have survived his ordeal. So I totally admire him for putting baseball and life on an even keel. To be totally honest with you, I don’t really see color. I see players and players only. But his road to the major leagues changed not only baseball but the country. To put everyone on a equal basis was a great fete.

I know we need more black players in the game. Quite honestly, we need more white players also. We have an influx of players of all races today. Our youth seem to be occupied with too much outside distractions that we don’t see our kids getting out of the house and going to the ball fields and playgrounds where the basics really take hold. It is America’s pastime, yet we seem to be not taking advantage of great opportunities. We give opportunities to all races thanks to Jackie. America is a great place to live!! Be proud. Sam

Thanks again for the great questions. I always enjoy talking baseball with people. Send your questions to me via email at AskSam@baseballclinics.com.

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