Logan Dubbe underwent Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow in October of 2010. The Glenelg junior returned to the outfield last season, but it wasn't until this spring that he was able to get back on the mound for the No. 3 Gladiators.
Dubbe hasn't shown much rust, winning his first three decisions without allowing an earned run before suffering a 2-0 loss to No. 10 Reservoir on Monday. The right-hander's ERA has climbed slightly, to 0.26, but he isn't complaining. His recovery from the elbow injury that used to almost guarantee the end of a pitching career has been remarkable.
Tommy John surgery is the reconstruction of the ulnar collateral ligament, accomplished with a surgical graft procedure in which a ligament in the medial elbow is replaced or repaired with a tendon from elsewhere in the body. Dubbe had the procedure done by renowned surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, who specializes in the procedure and used a tendon from Dubbe's left wrist and weaved it around the repaired area.
Glenelg coach Dave Bateler said he never worried about the way Dubbe would attack his rehabilitation.
Quiet by nature, Dubbe leads by example and his teammates have voted him the team captain. Dubbe also plays basketball and carries a 3.5 GPA.
"He works in the bullpen, he's a great listener and has the best inherent skills," Bateler said. "He does so many things right, things he hasn't been taught — like knowing when it's the right time to be stepping off the mound. He does a lot of bright things."
How did this injury happen to you?
It was while I was pitching. I felt a real bad pinch. They said it was from throwing too many pitches when I was too young.
I guess you were pretty scared, how did you get through the surgery?
At first I was pretty scared. But my doctor was James Andrews at Birmingham Hospital in Alabama. He was very reassuring. He made it very calming, and I trusted him a lot. Everything went just the way he said it would. It was supposed to take from eight to 12 months to recover and it took a long time, a real long time, about eight months. I was able to play with the team my sophomore year, but I wasn't allowed to pitch.
You consider yourself a pitcher, don't you? Was it hard not to be allowed to do that?
Pitching is what I love the most. I wasn't allowed to start pitching until late last summer. I was pretty nervous to throw the first pitch and then so happy, so happy when I'd done it and was able to get back on the mound.
Wasn't just being back to playing enough? Why is pitching special?
I love the feel of being in control of the game. Everyone is waiting on me. All eyes are on me.
You like being in control. You must be very confident.
I like the attention. But mostly just when I'm pitching. I'm actually very shy off the field. My team just brings me out of myself. I think most people in school don't really know how outgoing I can really be.
Now that you're back, have you set goals?
For myself, I just knew I wanted to do well for my team and do well right from the beginning. But I did not expect this at all. I'm very lucky. And for my team, I want everyone to get better as we go on and play. For everyone to grow as ball players and grow as a team, together. If we do that, we'll be happy with our achievement.
What exactly have you had to do to get back to this point?
I went to physical therapy four days a week and every day at home. I worked with small, light weight, I did shoulder work and [stretch band] work. I did that, I think, for five months. And I still have to continue doing it every day. I now lift 5- to 10-pound weights, usually three sets of 10, and then the band work for 10 to 15 minutes. And then I do a lot of leg work, pressing about 200 pounds and curling about 80.
Has your pitching or your pitches changed?
I don't think so. Everything is pretty much the same. I overpower people sometimes, but I can hit my spots when I need too. I'm generally good with my control. I have four pitches — the four-seam fastball, the two-seam fastball, the change-up and the slider. My fastball averages 87 mph. I'm definitely 100 percent back.