A fan asked yesterday on Twitter how righty Mark DiFelice is doing this spring, so I strolled over this morning and here’s the result:
Mark DiFelice is back in big-league camp with the Brewers after losing all of 2010 to shoulder surgery. His signature pitch is back, too.
“The cutter. Still got it,” said DiFelice, who carved a niche in Milwaukee’s bullpen in 2008 and 2009 essentially with one pitch, limiting right-handed batters to a .218 average.
“I had dreams of trying to throw it again after the surgery, and it wasn’t there,” he said. “You’re kind of like, ‘now what.'”
Thankfully, those dreams — more like nightmares — never became reality. He threw 22 bullpen sessions last summer under the watch of Brewers medical staffers before facing his first hitter, and finished the year with nine innings in the Brewers’ fall instructional program.
There was an offer to pitch winter ball, but DiFelice felt fatigued after a summer of rehab so he went home to Philadelphia. He worked out over the winter at Villanova University and drew an invitation from the Brewers to Major League Spring Training.
He’s pitching with “no limitations,” DiFelice said. “As of right now, I’m 100 percent. The shoulder feels great. I’m so happy to be back in camp and able to participate, enjoy the camaraderie with the guys. I worked hard last year to get back where I am now.”
DiFelice reported to Maryvale Baseball Park on Feb. 1 and had four bullpens under his belt before pitchers and catchers took part in the first formal workout.
Now, at 34, he’s back where he was in 2008 and 2009, trying to win a job.
“Nothing new to me,” he said.