Mock’s extra rest means he’s extra ready for Viera

Nationals right-hander Garrett Mock is excited to get started with the 2011 season after an injury-filled 2010 campaign that included neck surgery.

Mock has been working out and throwing in his hometown of Houston and plans to report to Viera, Fla., the Nationals’ spring training home, next Friday so he can find an apartment and get an early start.

“I just got done with a throwing session,” Mock said. “I did some long toss, nothing strenuous. I will have a longer bullpen session Friday.”

Mock says he is back to 100 percent health after a start-then-stop rehab process late in the season. Now, with rest and stretching out his arm, he is good to go.

“My neck is feeling pretty good,” Mock said. “It was a very long season. I was up one day and down the next. One game I would pitch really well, the next game I just felt off. I had a very unique surgery that not too many baseball players have had. The rehab process took some time.”

Mock said he had an offer to play for former Nats third base coach Pat Listach’s team in Puerto Rico this winter but decided against playing so he could be refreshed for 2011.

“I worked till the major league season ended rehabbing my neck, shoulder and arm,” Mock said. “I decided it would be better to get the extra rest instead of playing winter ball. I thought it would be better than starting and stopping the rehab process.”

“I gave it everything I had in rehabbing my pitching arm,” he said. “I felt playing winter ball wouldn’t serve as good a purpose as rest would. Taking a break would be better, I believe, then I could start fresh this season. I feel really, really good.”

Mock says coming into this season he feels totally different because doctors figured out what was wrong with his neck. That pain bothered him more than he thought at the time.

“Spring training was tough last year,” Mock said. “I know how bad it looked. I was committed to throwing strikes and I kept walking the house. I tried to just grind through it. I thought it was just soreness.”

Mock has seen what the Nationals have done in the off season to shore up their pitching staff, including the signing of veteran Tom Gorzelanny. He knows the Nats have a lot of good pitching.

“I am excited to get started this year,” Mock said. “I know the competition will be big as always. I really want to be a part of what the Nats are doing.”

Mock says a clean slate and a healthy arm gives him the best chance of making the team out of spring training.

“I got the feeling back in my hand after the surgery,” Mock said. “Now, I can grab a ball and just play. I feel like I made the right decision in resting. My arm feels alive again.”

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