A little over a year ago, righthander Chad Thompson was set to begin his senior season with El Toro (Calif.) High, the preseason No. 2 team in 2009. But after only four starts Thompson found out he needed Tommy John surgery, which was performed in early May. He's been on the long road back and has pitched in ABD Academy's spring league recently.
"The whole experience was grueling," Thompson said. "It was tempting to throw a ball. I couldn't do anything for four or five months. Couldn't put any stress on my elbow."
For the first eight months Thompson went to physical therapy three times a week for two hours a day. He started playing catch about five months after the operation and then got on a mound seven months out, throwing at about 50 percent. He gradually worked his way back to full speed by the time a year had passed. In his first outing he was up to 92 mph with his fastball.
"All I was thinking was don't hit this guy," Thompson said of his first pitch. "I wanted a first pitch strike and I threw it right down the middle. Once I got that over I felt pretty comfortable."
Thompson had plenty of adrenaline going in his first outing, but in his next appearance he sat comfortably 88-90. Thompson said his secondary stuff is coming back well. He's thrown his changeup and a slider instead of a curveball, but he hasn't thrown his forkball yet. A couple dozen or more scouts were out to see him in his second outing and it's not out of the question that a team could take Thompson as a mid-round pick and follow this summer as he pitches for the Kitsap BlueJackets of the West Coast League. If he doesn't sign, Thompson would return to Orange Coast College.
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