Inside the H.A. Chapman Facility at ORU former Golden Eagle Jeremy Hefner is trying to make it back to the Big Leagues. "I feel like I can be an asset for the team with the little bit of experience I have. I feel like I can offer something great to a team," he said.
It originally took five years for Hefner to reach MLB with the Mets, but for the past couple years he's had more trips to rehab after Tommy John Surgery, going through more arm exercises than starts.
He’s had two surgeries in 12 months. When he learned he had to go through a second surgery this past October he thought his baseball career was over. "When they told me, quite honestly, I thought I was done. I was ready to go on and do something else," he said.
But he’s still not ready to get back. He returned to throwing this week and grinding it out. "This whole thing is slow. Whenever you have ligaments, it takes a long time to heal and the pitching motion’s unnatural and so you have to slowly introduce it back to this unnatural motion," he explained.
Hefner is working up to long toss, but currently off the mound. "Then it starts all over. Like, once you get on the mound it's real slow, like 20 fastballs, then you slowly start introducing some curveballs," he stated.
He’s now a free agent, so he's taking time working back up to strength. He says a handful of major league clubs and overseas clubs have an interest in him for next season.
And while he's finishing school and coaching in spare time, his main focus is getting one more shot. "If I pitch the way I'm capable I'll move, and if not then we'll do something else," he explained.