First off, my apologies on not having regular updates lately. This week has been a little busy with local York County teams in various district playoffs.
Anyway, this is more of a Q&A I had before Sunday’s game with former Revs’ reliever Jason Richardson, who is back from Tommy John surgery pitching for the Lancaster Barnstormers this season.
Before we get to that, though, just wanted to recommend checking out the game story from the Revs’ 6-5 loss to Sugar Land on Tuesday, when York outfielder James Shanks made history by setting the club’s new all-time hits record.
Also, here’s the game story from York’s 7-6 loss to Sugar Land on Wednesday night. It ended up being Brett Tomko’s worst start of the year as Sugar Land improved to 27-5 and York fell to 17-16 overall and 3-10 in one-run games.
Former Revs’ reliever Jason Richardson spent all of last season in York rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. After a year off, Richardson is back in baseball with the Lancaster Barnstormers. In five appearances through Wednesday, Richardson has held opponents scoreless over 4.1 innings of work, striking out three with no walks.
Richardson, who played a big part in York’s championship clubs in 2010 and 2011, was holding out hope he could return to the game this season with the Revs.
“I was originally holding out to come back to York. I wanted to come back here. They took care of me last year and let me work and getting healthy,” he said. “We never could work anything out. I think they may have been a little bit timid about the elbow. (Lancaster manager) Butch (Hobson) brought me in on a tryout about a week before (spring training). I’ve been up here (in Lancaster) since. They (the Barnstormers) have so many quality arms. We had a couple guys get picked up (by major league teams) in (Joe) Mather and (Tim) Dillard and that opened up a spot for me.”
Richardson, 32, said he was healthy enough to come back near the end of last season, but York didn’t want to take a chance on the right-hander at that point.
“I got cleared (to pitch) right around 11 months. The doctor over here cleared me (in late August),” he said. “I got cleared then and I had been throwing well. I understand why (York didn’t take a chance on me). I thought I had a shot to come back. I was thinking more along the lines of I wanted to come back and pitch. I can understand why they didn’t want to bring me back that early on. From a business standpoint they had three weeks to a month left before the playoffs start. They would’ve had to keep an eye on me. I wouldn’t have been able to go out there in a close game with a team that’s trying to make a playoff run they don’t want to trust a guy who’s just coming off surgery.”
Richardson said his only other serious injury of his now 14-year pro career came in 2001 when he had to get bone spurs taken out of his throwing elbow. In his comeback this season, Richardson first pitched for the Long Island Storm, a team comprised of current and former Atlantic League players that scrimmages teams down in Florida during Major League Baseball’s spring training. He said his fastball was topping out at 92 mph in spring training, but has been clocked at 95 mph at Lancaster’s Clipper Magazine Stadium.
“I feel like the velocity is as good, if not better, than it was before surgery,” he said. “I think that first outing (in spring training) I was 92 or 93. As far as being this early in the year for me normally my velocity doesn’t peak until June. So if I can add another couple miles an hour it could be fun.”
Richardson spent the off-season getting healthy and working as a substitute teacher for the second year in a row in his native Florida. He’s also two classes away from obtaining a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Phoenix.
“My wife teaches middle school. I like the idea that when I’m done playing having the summers off with her,” he said. “She’s been able to come up and stay with me for months during the summer. I like that idea but I want to get into coaching high school baseball and things like that.”
But Richardson, who has never played in the majors and has only played one season at the Class AAA level in 2006, said his teaching career won’t start for at least another couple years.
“We’ll play this year and next year and see what happens…as long as I feel good,” he said “I’d love to get an affiliated deal. What’s the chances at my age honestly (at getting signed my a major league team)? If I didn’t get picked up at 27 or 28 (years-old) what’s the chances I could get picked up at 32? I feel like I can be one of the better pitchers coming out of the bullpen in this league. And I know this is a good league. So if I can be a guy to come in and have a job here, why not?”Read More