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Baseball: Former St. Joseph ace Isaac Baez on road to recovery after Tommy John surgery
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Baseball: Former St. Joseph ace Isaac Baez on road to recovery after Tommy John surgery

Friday, for the first time since undergoing Tommy John Surgery Oct. 30, Hancock College right-handed pitcher Isaac Baez did some serious throwing.

“I threw for 10-15 minutes at Hancock,” said Baez. “It went great, totally good.”

He actually threw farther than the distance from the pitcher’s mound to home plate.

“I stretched it out to 90 feet,” said Baez “I just threw the four-seam fastball. The arm felt great. I felt fine.”

Baez said he is on “week four or five of a 15-16 week rehabilitation plan.“ In 2019, Baez, who graduated from St. Joseph and was the Knights’ No. 1 starter, was an integral part of the Hancock staff.

His repertoire of pitches includes a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball, a curve and a change up.

“I’m just throwing the four-seam fastball right now,” said Baez. “I’m working on the two-seamer.

“I’ll start throwing the change up before I throw the curve.”

For now, as per doctor’s orders, “I’m not allowed to throw anything but the four-seam fastball,” said Baez.

After undergoing the Tommy John surgery, “I was released from the hospital the same morning,” said Baez.

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“I’ve been progressing a little bit at a time. The arm is feeling stronger. The arm is getting stronger, definitely.”

Up until Friday, Baez said, he had been playing pretty much glorified catch with some teammates in his rehab process.

The day before he threw at Hancock Baez said, “Overall, I’m not working on pitching just yet. I’m getting the feel of playing ball again.”

With the 2020 Hancock team sitting at 11-10, the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the rest of the Bulldogs’ season.

The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District said the plan "adheres to guidance provided by the State of California, SB County, California Department of Education (CDE), National Federation of High Schools (NFHS), and the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF)," and that "athletic directors will begin holding coaches meetings to review new rules with an implementation start date of July 6-17."

Because of the Tommy John surgery, Baez was sitting out that year.

The higher-ups at the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA), which Hancock is a member of, elected to give affected athletes their season of eligibility back as long as they were in good standing with their respective teams when the rest of the CCCAA 2020 spring season was scrubbed.

Baez fits that criteria.

“I’m really looking forward to getting that year back and, with the rest, coming back stronger,” for the 2021 season, he said.

Baez started 27 games over three varsity seasons with St. Joseph, accumulating a 1.89 ERA and a 13-10 win-loss record. He amassed 160 innings, giving up 140 hits while striking out 120 batters and issuing 42 walks. He threw 13 complete games with the Knights with three shutouts. 

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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.

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