Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Another dark horse candidate for 2007, Shane Hawk

Hawk Set To Resume Throwing

Shane Hawk will start throwing in InstructsBy Patrick Teale

Posted Sep 19, 2006

It has been over two years since talented left-handed hurler Shane Hawk threw a pitch in the Mets farm system. Surgeries to repair two tears in his labrum and another in his rotator cuff before a subsequent surgery prior to the start of the 2006 season has kept him on the shelf, but he's set to resume throwing during Instructs.

"I feel great," an excited Shane Hawk told "I feel stronger than I've ever felt in my life. I feel bigger than I've ever felt in my life. I've put on about ten pounds of muscle, about fifteen pounds total."

"I had slimmed down a bit after my last surgery but I've hit the weights harder than I've ever hit them. They told me I'll be able to start playing catch again during Instructs so
that's pretty exciting."

Hawk had his first surgery in the offseason prior to the 2005 season, repairing two tears in his labrum in his left shoulder and another tear in his rotator cuff. He had worked his way back but had yet another setback at the beginning of Spring Training this season.

"I had the exact same pain that I had before my first surgery," Hawk revealed. "They went in and looked and said there was nothing there except a lot of scar tissue. I'm so
loose naturally that my shoulder was coming out every time I was throwing a ball. It was coming out of the socket and going back in. They sutured up some tendons in the front and tightened it up and pulled it back in the normal position."

Unable to throw a baseball this past season, not even allowed to play catch at all, Hawk has been limited to a steady diet of lifting weights, running, and shoulder therapy in the
trainer's room at the minor league complex in St. Lucie.

"I lift weights like a madman," said the 25-year old. "I feel like I'm Arnold Schwarzenegger from 'Pumping Iron' or something. The therapist comes in on Tuesdays and Fridays and I do my shoulder stuff. I just workout as hard as I can. I want to get back to where I was at."

Hawk had posted a 3-1 record with ten saves and a 2.02 ERA in his career prior to the shoulder problems, quickly earning the distinction as the top left-handed relief prospect in the system.

Drafted in the fourth round of the 2003 MLB Draft out of Oklahoma State University, the now oft-injured Hawk has seen some of his friends find their way to Shea Stadium.

"It hurts seeing a lot of guys, this year actually, young guys going to the big leagues that I know I can compete with," he admitted. "But I know if I can get back to 85-90 percent of
where I was at I can get to a good level and help out the Mets at a certain level, even in the big leagues in the bullpen or something."

Physically in the best shape of his life and seemingly ready to go, he is set to resume throwing during the Mets' Instructional League. Soft-tossing from 45 and 60 feet are on
the agenda and perhaps even some long-tossing from as far as 90 or 120 feet.

"I don't know if I'll be on the mound yet but I'll definitely be working my way into some long-toss," said Hawk. "That's my goal, to get on the mound before the Instructs' season ends and before the whole thing ends."

But while Hawk and the Mets are excited to get him back to throwing a baseball, everybody realizes caution is the name of the game.

"Spring Training for sure," Hawk said of when he thinks he'll return to the mound for sure. "I don't want to rush into anything and blow something out before I even get back.
Obviously this year is a wash so why waste it."


MPH's take: With Omar trading away most of our upper level relief prospects (no matter how bad we think they were/are, they were there), Shane Hawk will be a pleasant surprise for Mets fans who follow the system, if he's 100% healthy. He throws hard. He could move quickly this year, assuming everything is a go on his left arm, which is another key, he's a lefty.

We do have several talented, if unnamed, relief prospects in our system. Grady Hinchman, Carlos Muniz, Kevin Tomasiewicz, Brandon Nall, German Marte, Shane Hawk, and others I'm sure I'm forgetting. Hawk's the only lefty of the group, though, which will aid in his ascent.

PS: Doesn't that shoulder thing sound absoultely painful? My god. Ouchies.

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