By Brandon Rebboah ' 13
After battling injury that sidelined him all last year, Thain Simon is back in a Bronco uniform. The 2008 All-American looks to stay healthy and get back to his dominant form. Simon (TS) recently caught up with SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) to discuss his rehab and the upcoming 2011 baseball season.
SCB: First off, how are you feeling coming back from such a difficult injury?
TS: I had a second surgery on my elbow in September, so I've had to miss most of the fall. But I've started throwing again and everything feels good. The rehab throwing program should move quickly this time around, since I've already been through it once. All in all, I'm feeling pretty good about this as we get near the season.
SCB: Does it feel weird to be back on the field after sitting out last year with injury?
TS: I wouldn't say it feels weird. I've been playing baseball my whole life so you never really forget what it's like. It's definitely exciting though. Sitting out a year made me appreciate playing more than I ever did before.
SCB: Do you feel you have something to prove coming back from injury? If so, what?
TS: I don't really think about it in terms of having something to prove. I know I've worked my hardest to get back to full strength; beyond that I don't have anything to prove. Having said that, there's a lot that I haven't yet accomplished as an athlete. I'm just looking forward to getting back out on the field and playing ball.
SCB: The coaching staff obviously has a lot of confidence in you. How does that change the way you approach the upcoming season?
TS: The coaching staff has been great throughout my time here. They gave me the chance to play early in my career and supported me when I got hurt. I wouldn't really say their confidence changes the way I approach things though. It's great to know the coaches have confidence in me, but it's far more important that I have confidence in myself. How I approach preparing for the season has more to do with experience and a sense of urgency, this being my senior year.
SCB: You've had collegiate success during your career. What advices do you have to give all your young teammates (especially freshman pitchers).
TS: Simplify things. The game has a tendency to speed up on you, especially early in your career. Focus on doing something well and consistently, that's the best way to impact the team as a freshman.
SCB: What are your personal goals this season?
TS: My first goal is to get fully healthy. It's been a long road but I'm getting there. Aside from that, my goal is to do whatever I can to help the team win conference and go to a regional. I could give you some numbers, a certain number of wins, a certain E.R.A., but they don't mean anything unless we win games. My goal is to perform my best at whatever role I have
SCB: What are you doing to meet those goals?
TS: The PT, rehab, and throwing program have been really important for me to get healthy. We have our strength and conditioning workouts in the mornings, and those have been going well. And we've focused our practices on getting better every day, which has helped keep us locked in.
SCB: What has been your (personal) main focus in fall practice? How has this fall season been different than those of the past?
TS: One focus for me that has been different than other years is that I've tried to assume a greater leadership role on the team. As one of the more experienced players I have a responsibility to show the younger players how things are done. I'm usually pretty reserved, so I've had to push myself to speak up more than usual.
SCB: What opponent, if any, are you most looking forward to this upcoming season? Why?
TS: Opening up at University of South Carolina, the defending national champions, should be awesome. It's always great to play Stanford, and personally, I've always enjoyed matching up against USD.
SCB: Finally, what is it like to have a brother on the team with you?
TS: Playing with Brock is great. We haven't actually played on the same team very often and we've always been competitive, so this is no different. He's pretty good so having him around pushes me to get better. After all, every practice is another chance to prove I'm the better athlete (laughs).