Tuesday, October 10, 2006

 Game 2 

On Saturday I had my second baseball game in my short 3-game fall season. I was excited to take the field and especially to bat again. The weather was perfect, sunny and very clear with no haze and with temperatures in the upper 70s. However, I noticed early on during warmups that I had some lingering tightness in my right quadricep. I tried to gently stretch it out and relax it, but to no avail. The game started, and I was in right field, hoping that I wouldn't have to run down any line drives. Fortunately, we had a very good pitcher who struck out the side each of the first two innings.

I came up to bat in the bottom of the second, and with two on and on a 2-2 pitch I slapped a blooping drive out over short into shallow left-center for my first hit in over 20 years! I was very excited, except when I ran to first my quad seized up hard on me, and I realized that I probably was not going to finish the game. I had never felt leg pain like that before - it was as if someone had pounded my upper thigh with a bat. The inning continued, and I eventually made it to second and even to third, but I gave up then, asking the coach to get a pinch-runner for me. I ended up sitting out the rest of the game, taking some generously offered Advil and icing my quad and gently walking around for the next 2 hours. What a bummer.

I had a lot of time to ponder how this happened. After some discussion, I've concluded that I caused this problem by overusing that muscle at the batting cages the previous day. At the cages I sampled some 'fast' and 'very fast' pitching, and found to my delight that not only could I catch up to it, I could slug it. It was great fun - however, I did note that my stance and swing probably could use some adjustment. I didn't feel any pain, but my forward leg (the right leg - I bat lefty) always seemed to be planting very hard when I swung. That's fine and all, except that muscle is not accustomed to being used so forcefully. That had to be the reason I felt this asymmetric leg pain - regular running soreness would have caused both left and right quads to feel some tightness, but batting would definitely not evenly distribute muscle use.

I've let 'Coach Nick' know that I'm day-to-day for Saturday's matinee game. The weather looks to be good again, a little cooler but still nice. I want to get out there and hit and catch and throw, but I can't afford to aggravate this quad pull, or whatever it is. Ah, the life of a ballplayer, battling injury just to make his mark.


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