After finally being taken off the disabled list, Nationals pitcher Garrett Mock guided the Syracuse Chiefs to a victory Friday night, going six innings, scattering four hits, allowing one run with two walks and three strikeouts.
"I feel like a weight was lifted off my shoulders (with Friday's win)," says Mock.
"Now, I can prepare for the next one and if another start comes I want to be able to compete for six plus innings."
"That is a huge feeling," he added. "I am not on rehab any more. My job is to go six innings or 100 pitches. I should be able to do that. I will be ready to do that the next start."
Mock has been on the disabled list since late April neck surgery. The win was his first in the minors this season after five rehab starts in various cities.
He allowed a run in the first inning, and then threw five scoreless after that. Two of the hits were bunt singles.
"I got into jam in 6th inning with the meat of their lineup," remembered Mock.
"I faced a left handed hitter and had to make pitches. I am glad to have had enough in the tank to make those pitches. We ended up scoring some runs."
"One walk was a competitive at bat. The other walk was with one out and a base open and I didn't give in."
Mock says he felt freedom to just go out and pitch after being taken off the disabled list for the first time since April.
"It felt more like a real game because they let me take the reins," says Mock.
"They gave me six innings or 100 pitches. I got to around 80 pitches. Every step of this rehab process was uncharted territory because it was a unique surgery. There is not a clear cut rehab from a neck injury like this one. I had to take baby steps and other times I just had to push through it. My arm feels good."
Mock is realistic about the next step with the Triple-A regular season winding down, and certainly hopes he gets the call to the Nationals for a few starts before October 3.
"At the end of the day if they deem me worthy of a call up or not I know that this final start really tested me. I am encouraged to end on a good note. I am thrilled to death about the way things went since April."