Grimes enjoying health, success with Shorebirds

grimes shorebirds

One of the most difficult obstacles for any athlete to overcome is dealing with a significant injury. Health is the absolute top requirement from any athlete, especially one trying to perform at a professionallevel.

A pitcher cannot tap into his peak potential if his body does not cooperate.

Shorebirds’ starter Matthew Grimes has dealt with all of those challenges and become a better pitcher for it. Fans wouldn’t know it from watching him this season, but for a couple years, getting back on the field was a big accomplishment for Grimes.

While at Georgia Tech, Grimes missed one and a half seasons with an arm injury that eventually required Tommy John surgery.

“I wasn’t game ready for a year and two months,” he said. “Last year was my first season back after surgery. And I hadn’t played in two years.”

The challenge of returning after a serious injury can be as much mental as it is physical. That perhaps is the most frustrating aspect of being injured. To know that the amazing displays which were once easily within your capabilities, now they are just out of your reach.

“Mentally, it takes a toll on you. You start to wonder, ‘Will I still be the same pitcher? How will this affect me in the MLB draft? Will I have a career in baseball beyond college?” Grimes says.

After drafting Grimes in the 18th round last year, the Orioles organization adopted a cautious approach, limiting his innings while at Aberdeen in 2014. In 10 appearances with the IronBirds, Grimes only threw 22 innings, maxing out at three innings in a single outing.

“This year is the first season in which I’m fully healthy,” Grimes said.

Grimes has been a steady force in the Shorebirds’ rotation, improving incrementally since the start of the season. As of June 4, Grimes is tied for the team lead in wins (3), having won three of four starts from April 28th to May 15th.

After a slow start to the year, Grimes really had all the pieces fall into place on a road trip to his home state of Georgia. At Savannah, Grimes pitched a complete game shutout in a rain-shortened contest on April 28th, allowing just one hit in five innings as Delmarva romped the Sand Gnats, 12-0. In that game, Grimes struck out 11 batters, the most by a Shorebird since Parker Bridwell during the 2013 season.

On May 3rd, Grimes continued his strong performances as he earned another win against the Augusta GreenJackets. Perhaps the most important development from that start? Grimes worked into the sixth inning for the first time in his career, signaling his return to peak form and health after years sidelined by injury.

“There was definitely a lot of doubt. But at the end of the day, I think I grew as person throughout it all,” Grimes said.

Now, Delmarva fans can witness the fruits of his hard labor, and Grimes can once again enjoy his incredible talent.


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