Ricky Nolasco off to a good start

As Jim B reported in yesterday's Game Thread, Ricky Nolasco is off to a promising start.  Which is good news considering what he went through last year.

The toughest part last season was sitting in the dugout between innings and feeling his elbow tighten, like someone was inflating a blood pressure cuff around it.

Ricky Nolasco already had been on the disabled list once. He returned May 1 and within two weeks knew he was headed back.

Nolasco did not pitch in the majors again.

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Once Nolasco was deemed ready last August the Marlins optioned him to Triple-A Albuquerque, where he made four forgettable starts. He got the loss in two of them as opponents tagged him for 26 runs (24 earned) on 29 hits in 15 1/3 innings. He did strike out 11 more batters (15) than he walked, but Nolasco also served up six homers.

"There were a lot of things that weren't right," Isotopes pitching coach Rich Gale said. "I'm sure he was disappointed he wasn't recalled in September. We talked about that some. ... I'm sure there was some apprehension there. Even though he said it wasn't hurting, I've been there and you say that because you want to hear yourself say it and you think other people want to hear you say it."

Added Nolasco: "I battled all last year to just try and get out there and do something. It ultimately led them to believe I was healthy, but I wasn't because I wasn't myself at any point."

This point can't be driven home enough: The Kids Lie!

They always have and they always will.  When they finally reach the dream of being in the majors, they will say anything and go through anything to stay there.

And when they are finally forced into admitting that something could sort of be wrong - the injury is no longer at the manageable stage but requires more extreme measures.

It is understandable why the young players do this, it is not understandable why anyone trust what they are saying about their physical condition.

But fortunately for Ricky, and the team, the Marlins have a good pitching coach at the Triple-A level.

Not until a subsequent stint in the Arizona Fall League did Nolasco start feeling and looking like the 11-game winner as a rookie in 2006. He had the added benefit of Gale being his pitching coach there.

A point of emphasis was making sure Nolasco kept his head and front side in line longer. He was pulling off early and the result was an inconsistent arm slot. The turning point for Nolasco came in his second start, when the big curveball mirrored the one he threw before the injury.

"You could just see it almost in his face," Gale said. "Bang, that's it. Then he got a little happy with it, but he froze some people and buckled some knees."

The bottom line is Nolasco is looking and feeling like the Nolasco of old.  And that is only a good thing.

If you are so inclined, read the whole article.  Juan C. Rodriguez did a good job with it.

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