Andy Morris Pt. 2: When Life Gives You Lemons...
Updated: Apr 5, 2022
Sometimes, just when you think you're out of the woods, life just comes back and kicks you in the butt again. My redshirt freshman year was... an interesting one. I began the year continuing my rehab from the Tommy John surgery I had the year before. Everyday I saw my progression get one step closer to my end goal - pitching for Cabrillo College and doing it with pride. As this season progressed, it had presented a number of challenges all the way from being 10th out of 10 pitchers on the depth chart, to not being able to get my velocity back, to the fact I was on the team but did not quite feel a part of the team. It was nobody's fault but my own.
As previously stated, I mentioned when I was out with Tommy John the year before, and it allowed me to see what it meant to be a great teammate. Man, let me tell you. My third and final season really showed me what my character was about. But it got off to a rocky start. A large cloud of doubt filled my head. Had I really soaked in all the information I could about my injury and would I be able to apply it? Even if I did apply it, would I still be an effective pitcher? At this point in time, I really didn't know...
I often went in the office and talked with head coach Bob Kittle about me seeing the field and he always said, “Andy, I would do anything to put you on that field, nobody deserves it more, but until you can compete on that mound I cannot do that to this team”. I couldn’t have agreed more. As the season concluded, and we entered for our exit meetings, it was very clear from Coach Kittle and pitching coach Mike Ditano that they wanted me back, but if a school came to offer me, I would have to truly consider it. These two coaches from day one always had my best interest at heart and only wanted to see me succeed, which is why I felt that, as I went into the summer, I would ramp up my throwing program weight lifting schedule and try to be 100% ready come day one of my last season.
During the summer, I was fortunate to meet local legend and incredible pitcher in his day, Greg Press. This man helped me for several weeks learn what it meant to “feel” the pitch. A lot of pitchers in the game today are “throwers” not “pitchers,” and it really takes a great deal of practice to understand how to transition from one to the other. During this time Greg helped me build up arm strength, train harder, learn new pitches (specifically a change-up), and how to study the hitters. As the fall season approached, I knew I was in the best physical and mental shape I had been in been in since Tommy John. Nothing was going to stop me in my last year. Nothing.
About a month and half into fall season, right around October, we drove up for a weekend series at Fresno Community College and I was scheduled for a few outings if all went well. The prior weeks allowed for this, as my velocity was up on my fastball, my new change up was dirty, and my slider had some serious movement. I get the nod from coach Ditano to get ready down in the bullpen, as I have done many times before, feeling great. About 40 pitches into my outing, the inning concluded and as was in the dugout giving high fives, I noticed I couldn’t really lift my arm to do so. At first I thought “Wow, that really got me tired, and to think it was only 40 pitches.” I did not like the sound of that because I was trying to slowly work my way back into the starting rotation for some weekend league starts in the upcoming season, if at all possible.