Tankersley back on mound
Stepping back on the mound in game for the first time in about a year had Taylor Tankersley thinking about what is and what might have been.
In the back of his mound, the left-hander, who will turn 27 on Sunday, wondered if he would ever face batters ever again.
Last April, Tankersley underwent surgery to fix a stress fracture in his throwing elbow. Two screws were inserted into his throwing arm.
So there was natural elation when Tankersley took the mound for an inning of relief in the sixth inning on Thursday against the Nationals. In all, it took four pitches to record three outs in a scoreless frame.
Ivan Rodriguez led off with a single, but Adam Dunn tapped into a double play, and Mike Morse was retired on a fly out.
“I’m just very grateful for the opportunity to throw a baseball again,” said Tankersley, a 2004 first-round pick from Alabama. “When I had surgery last April, there were a lot of days over the summer, where you’re coming into rehab, and you’re working hard. In the back of your mind, you have the knowledge that it all might be in vain, that I might not ever pitch again.
“Going through that hard work, for that long period of time, without being able to throw a baseball has me so thankful to be where I am right now.”
Tankersley is competing for a lefty relief spot.
Throwing four pitches was his first step in getting back to the big leagues.
“I guess that’s a double-edge sword here in Spring Training,” Tankersley said of throwing four pitches. “You want to have a good outing, which I did. But you might want to also throw 10 or 12 pitches to show a little more in you. But I’m not complaining by any means.”
— Joe Frisaro