Gumbs Already Ready

Angelo Gumbs can't wait for next season

Charleston second baseman Angelo Gumbs was well on his way to having a breakout season with the RiverDogs this past season when a torn tricep in his left arm a week before the All Star break ended his year prematurely. He returned during Instructs, however, and he already has his eyes set on continuing that breakout in 2013.

He sustained the injury around June 14th or so and still managed to continue playing until eventually being shut down on June 26th.

"I was facing a pitcher and he threw me a changeup," Gumbs recounted how it happened. "I was fooled and I don't know if tried to stop or what, but I kind of hyper-extended it and it tore."

While he didn't realize it was torn for another ten days or so, initially thinking it was just aches and pains associated with playing a full season for the first time, he went back to the minor league complex at the end of June to begin his rehab.

"I just focused on the area," he said. "I did a lot of dips but at the beginning of the rehab I did a lot of heat/ice. I got an ultrasound on it and they rubbed it real good and massaged it, and towards the middle of my rehab that's when I started lifting weights a little bit, little by little."

The injury derailed what had become a coming out party of sorts for the athletic second baseman. He was hitting a solid .272 with 24 extra-base hits and 26 stolen bases in just 67 games played before being shut down.

"I felt like my season was going great and picking up even after the injury," he revealed. "I thought it was just a playing pain since I had been playing so long and it was my first full season so I thought it was something that was going to go away, but it just got worse.

"Those games after [the injury], I wound up having a ten-game hitting streak. I felt like I was doing really good and on the rise, I wish I could have been in there longer."

He was healthy once again during Instructs and certainly did some great things on both sides of the ball.

"I'm working on things. I'm working on pitch selection and I've done a good job of staying back and not lunging forward when I swing.

"Defensively I'm just thinking about the plays before they happen and I feel like I'm getting better at that too, constantly thinking during the game."

That certainly came into play during a game against the Phillies when he made a remarkable defensive play where he ranged far to his right to catch a ground ball surely destined for centerfield, flipped the ball with the glove behind his back to the shortstop to begin an inning-ending double play.

"In Charleston me and Cito [Culver] would play around and do crazy plays like that," he said. "I saw the ball was hit up the middle. I saw it wasn't bouncing low, it was bouncing a little high so I wanted to keep my head behind my glove so I could see the ball all the way.

"I saw it all the way in and I was too far behind second base to flip it regularly so I flipped it behind my back and it was a pretty firm flip."

It is those types of plays and his offensive prowess that has him wanting more. Finally healthy again, he already has his eyes set towards next season.

"I was expecting to have a breakout year this year. I felt like I was on my way to doing that but with the injury that was pure shock.

"I've never been injured like that in my life. Next year will be the breakout year that I want, definitely. I'm working hard towards that.

"I'm ready for the 2013 season, that's for sure. That's what I'm looking forward to, that's what I'm working for. Hopefully I can start in Tampa and work my way up from there," he concluded.

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