Stanford progressing one year after surgery
He faced live hitters for the first time since last year.
NILES -- Cleveland Indians pitcher Jason Stanford said he was emotional, excited and just plain happy to be back on the mound.
"It felt good to be able to go out and throw pain-free. I didn't care about the outcome. I just wanted to go out and not have to hold back," Stanford said.
"I'm still trying to find my fastball and locate it but my change was good tonight and that is a good sign," he added. "I only threw two curves and that needs to be fine-tuned as well."
Stanford, who had Tommy John surgery almost a year to the day (July 29) of his appearance with the Scrappers, threw 25 pitches: 13 strikes and 12 balls. He threw first ball strikes to four of the five batters he faced.
"I feel like I am right on schedule, right where I should be with my rehab," he said. "Depending on how the arm feels tomorrow, I should see another start with the Scrappers on Thursday then the next stop will be Lake County. The goal is to hopefully end up in Buffalo and then get ready for next spring training.
Ups and downs
"The one thing I can tell you about being away from the live action is that there are plenty of ups and downs. It's a long road back and there are plenty of frustrations along the way. I've thrown several simulated games but it was great tonight to be back on the mound facing live hitters in game situations."
John Farrell, the Indians' director of player development, was pleased to see Stanford's return.
"He's thrown well in his simulated games and it was time to get him back into a live-game environment," Farrell said. "As long as he can continue on the path to date, he will be fine. He just needs to keep progressing as he has thus far."
Stanford showed his appreciation to the team by buying them a catered dinner from Damon's Restaurant after the game.
"When I was in AA, guys like Matt Lawton, Charlie Nagy and Jared Wright would buy dinner for us after their rehab assignments," said Stanford.
"That meant a lot to us and I want to continue that tradition. It's really nice when you can have an excellent meal after the game."