Rockies Thomore nearing a return
Carl Thomore is aching to play baseball again.
The Grand Junction Rockies outfielder was in the opening day lineup and played in five of the Rockies’ first 10 games this season.
Something, though, wasn’t right with the way he was running.
Or trying to run.
“I hurt it before spring training, and it’s just been lingering,” Thomore said of his left hamstring. “It’s not hurt now. I’m just waiting until I get back to my old running form, so I look normal when I run. I understood I was not running fast, I did not have the right running form.
“I was limping, so I didn’t want that and neither did the guys up top, so we decided to shut it down and get my running form back to what it was.”
Thomore injured the hamstring during the offseason and tweaked it during extended spring training. He was feeling better when he got to Grand Junction, but clearly was favoring the left leg.
“When I was at the plate, I’m thinking, ‘If I hit this ball, I have to run to first, and how am I going to get there?’ ” he said. “When I’m at the plate I like to be clear of everything and concentrating on that, not having to hit it and worry if my leg is going to hold out running to first. If I get on first, is my leg going to hold up if I have to go first to third?”
He was hitting .133 (2 for 15) with five runs scored when the club shut him down. He hasn’t played since June 27.
It wasn’t any easier for him in left field.
“That’s the thing I struggled with the most,” he said. “Going after balls that I easily could have caught if my leg was healthy.
“It’s a bad feeling because I can’t play like I want people to perceive it as. I can’t play how these guys drafted me for. It’s not a good feeling, but I’m working hard. I’m going to get back to what it was.”
For the past month, he hasn’t swung a bat or thrown a baseball. He’s done a series of strengthening exercises to build up the muscles that support his hamstring and the additional 20 pounds of muscle he added in the offseason.
“My hamstring and quads are strong, but in the offseason I worked out in the gym real hard and got a lot bigger and didn’t do a great job getting the supporting muscles of my hamstring and quad strong,” he said.
“When I was at 205, my muscles all worked great together, but when you put 20 pounds on and you come back, it’s a little different for your legs. Your legs are like, ‘What’s this weight about?’
“Then you run on it, and now my glute wasn’t ready to help my hamstring out, and my hip adductors weren’t ready to help my quad out to help my hamstring.”
He’s learned plenty about how the muscles work the past four weeks and said he can now be smarter about his offseason workouts.
Saturday, Thomore finished the fourth and final cycle of workouts, which include running, abdominal workouts, plyometrics and leg workouts, including exercises that resemble swimming strokes in the grass.
Today he hopes to start some baseball activities, including running the bases to see if his form is back to normal.
Thomore tried to run with a longer stride to compensate for being slower. Now he knows that wasn’t the right approach, so he’s pretty much learning how to run again.
During games, he’s on the top step of the dugout, leaning on the rail, encouraging his teammates as he waits for his turn to come again. There’s no timetable for that to happen, though.
“It’s not fun, I’m not going to lie to you. It’s not a good time,” he said. “I’m not a grump. I still high-five a guy when he does something right, and I’ll be the first guy to help a guy out if he does something wrong.
“But at the same time, I want to be out there. I want to be the guy you say something to or correct me because at least I’m in the game.”
Rockies’ trainer Josh Guterman tells him to be patient, which isn’t in the Jersey boy’s vocabulary.
“I’m not a patient guy, I’m from New Jersey,” said the Rockies’ 2011 second-round draft pick. “We go fast. Let’s go now. There’s no patience; let’s go and do.”