Former ORU Pitcher Takes Next Step In Return To Big Leagues

Thursday, April 21st 2016, 10:10 pm

By: News On 6

It's been 32 months since Jeremy Hefner pitched in the major leagues.

The former Oral Roberts pitcher and Perkins, Oklahoma native has battled through two Tommy John elbow surgeries since then, but he’s taking a big step on the road back to the big league.

Hefner's fortunate to get to play pro ball again, but the road just to get back Triple-A wasn't as fun.

"The reason I felt like I could keep throwing was because of where I was at my first surgery," he said.

Hefner had to tirelessly work to get back to the diamond after not one, but two Tommy John surgeries.

Both took place within a year and required tireless rehab, and then he spent last year throwing at ORU, hoping for another shot.

Hefner said, "Knowing you're healthy and no one is signing you, it was a little scary and frustrating because, why did I just do this rehab for a whole year? All those doubts start to creep up in your mind - can I get over this? Am I ever going to ever get back to where I was before?"

Hefner did get a chance to prove himself in the Dominican League. He proved himself well enough to get teams to call and got a minor league contract with the Cardinals.

After Spring Training, he was sent to Triple-A Memphis; and in his third start of the season, he's pitching back in Oklahoma City in front of nearly 400 family and friends.

In his first three starts, he has two wins and a 2.30 ERA.

"I think it's been my off-speed consistency. My fastball command hasn't been where I want it to be - and to pitch in the big leagues it needs to be better, but I'm very happy with my cutter, change-up and curve," he said.

So now, it's pitch well and hope for a call-up; but he's just happy to be able to have another shot.

“You know, I've had those two surgeries, and yeah, those are red flags, but I'm just grateful and I really love baseball," Hefner said.


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