Lone Star Dugout reports from an action-packed game on Friday night, as the RoughRiders smacked five…
Rehab stint helps Mathis' ailing back
Frisco starting pitcher Doug Mathis was one of the top pitchers in the Texas League for the first two months of the season. However, the right-hander has had a rough string of starts in the last month-and-a-half, including a trip to the disabled list.
"I had a problem with my back; it was like a bulging disc," said Mathis. "It was giving me a lot of problems with my sciatic nerve. It has been bothering me pretty much all season, but for the last month and a half, it just got worse and worse. I decided that I didn't want to go out there and keep pitching hurt."
Mathis returned to his home state of Arizona to rehab his injury. The pitcher says it was nice to see friends and family during the season.
"I live in Scottsdale now, so I got to see my parents and I was down there hanging out with my friends," he said. "Nobody wants to miss time and rehab, but it was actually kind of nice to do that in the middle of the season."
Mathis also made a rehab start with the Rookie League AZL Rangers, giving up five runs in 2 2/3 innings. Despite the poor results, Mathis came away satisfied.
"I was more worried about where I was physically in that game," explained Mathis. "They ended up getting some hits and stuff happened, but I thought I threw the ball well. The main thing was that I felt good physically. That was the big thing. I felt good and everything was fine."
The University of Missouri product has a 7.77 ERA over his last five starts with the RoughRiders, posting just one quality start in that span. Mathis believes his injury has played a large role in his struggles.
"I think a lot of [my struggles] have to do with me not being one hundred percent," said Mathis. "I was not able to finish a lot of pitches because of my back. I was just trying to do too much when I was injured. I didn't really say much because I wanted to pitch through it, but I think that had a lot to do with it."
As the season has progressed, Mathis has made one noticeable mechanical change. While he used to bring his hands over his head in the windup, he now keeps them at the belt.
"We wanted to keep my hands right there instead of going over my head," he said. "When I was going over my head I was kind of getting stuck. I was sitting back too much instead of going towards the plate. Now I'm trying to pick my tempo up to get going towards the plate."
After spending nearly two weeks on the disabled list, Mathis believes his ailing back is finally healthy.
"[My back] feels about ninety-five to one hundred percent better," said Mathis. "It still bothers me a little bit every now and then, but it is pretty much fixed. I'm capable of doing what I want out there. Before I was limited in what I was able to do."
Though the righty is not particularly pleased with his overall performance this year, he is looking forward to righting the ship.
"I'm not really happy with how I've thrown," said Mathis. "I threw well for two months, but I've been struggling. Everyone struggles, but I'm not really happy with how I've been throwing for the last month or so. I've got to get back on track and see if I can finish strong here."
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