Brad Meyers on return to Nationals: “I feel like I am coming back home”

Right-hander Brad Meyers would just as soon forget 2012.

It started off well with a new opportunity with the New York Yankees following his selection from the Nationals in the Rule 5 draft at last year’s Winter Meetings. But a shoulder injury and just one appearance altered that momentum quickly.

Eleven months later, the Santa Ana, Calif., native has been returned to the Nationals and is excited about being back with the club that originally drafted him.

“I feel like I am coming back home,” Meyers said. “I didn’t really know if it was going to be temporary or not. Obviously, things happened, I got hurt, ended up getting surgery. Hopefully everything is good now and I can start my way back and get back to being healthy.”

The 27-year old Meyers remembered injuring his shoulder working out and did not realize at the time how serious a problem it was going to become.

“When I started throwing and lifting before spring training, I kind of felt something tweak and give out a little bit,” Meyers recalled. “I didn’t really want to bring it up because I didn’t think anything was wrong. They said (the labrum) was torn. Who knows if something was ailing or not? But I thought everything was good. Obviously, coming out last year, everything was good.”

Meyers said he will continue physical therapy for the next 30 days
before getting back to throwing.

“They are going to shut me down for a month,” he said. “I will get going throwing bullpens in early February.”

Coming off labrum surgery, recovery is usually 12 months. Meyers had surgery in May, which would put recovery in May 2013. But Meyers hopes that timetable is accelerated a bit.

“Talking to the trainers, they are hoping I will be back before then. And hopefully around nine months in I will be throwing in games and getting back so that is the goal,” Meyers said.

Meyers won at least nine games in three of his last four seasons before the shoulder injury, and was always very good at controlling the strike zone.

“(I feature) fastball, slider and changeup,” Meyers said. “I like to throw any of them in any count. Typically I am just a control guy. I kind of lost some of that last year just being hurt.”

And although he was disappointed to not be able to pitch last season, he was enthused by watching the Nationals play so well and win the National League East.

“I was fired up for them watching the playoffs,” Meyers said. “I was happy for the guys and everyone who worked so hard to get there. It was a long time coming. (General manager Mike) Rizzo made a lot of changes to the organization. He obviously knows what he is doing because he put together a winning team.”

Meyers was on a good track for the Nationals as a minor league Pitcher of the Year in 2009, when he went 11-3 with a 1.72 ERA in 23 starts. He has started 84 games in the organization since 2007, and if he can rebound, he could return to being an effective starter.

With the starters available in Triple-A Syracuse right now, Meyers looks like he will have a great opportunity to step to the top of the list if he can get back into that form of 2009. He will be assigned to Syracuse, so he will have a good chance to see where he is by at least mid-season.

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