Nationals pitcher Garrett Mock makes his first rehab start tonight for the Hagerstown Suns in his first game back since neck surgery in late April.
Mock was feeling numbness in his pitching hand in early April and had trouble gripping the ball in his only start at a cold and windy Citi Field against the NY Mets. He lasted only 3 1/3 innings, allowing 2 earned runs on four hits, walking five and striking out three.
Mock knew something wasn't right during the outing. He kept blowing into his hands to try to warm them up, but it wasn't working.
"I was feeling numbness in my hand. The ball was just flying out. My arm angle had dropped. I was overexerting myself."
Mock reflected back and remembers simple day-to-day activities where his hand didn't feel right: eating cereal, he would suddenly drop the spoon; heading to his car, the keys would fall out of his hands; picking up the phone and his hand would suddenly go numb.
But the numbness in his hand was nothing compared to what happened to him a couple of days later when he was throwing with a teammate.
"I was playing catch in New York with Craig Stammen and when I brought the ball out of my glove to throw it I felt a 'pop' in my neck and I went down to the ground. Later, I said to myself, 'this is not good'."
Following successful surgery in late April, Mock says his hand now feels great.
"It feels brand new now. I didn't know how bad it was."
Mock will go three or four innings and a maximum of 50 pitches. This will be his first game action since going on the disabled list April 15th and Mock is excited to get going again.