The give and take of baseball is something that Pat Light learned a lot about in his second season in the Red Sox system.
The 37th overall selection in the 2012 draft, Light was hoping to make his first full season as a pro a stepping-off point in his career.
Instead, a tough start and a hamstring issue allowed him only 34 1/3 innings of work.
“It was by far my toughest year,” said Light. “It reminded me a bit of my freshman year [at Monmouth University], which was my least successful year. But I was at least able to pitch then.”
Starting his campaign with the Class-A Greenville Drive, a 4.80 ERA in April gave way to a 12.17 ERA in May and in his lone start in June he faced just one batter before suffering a torn left hamstring that kept him out of action for more than two months.
“It was a rough start,” said Light. “Then to be sidelined…it was tough because I had never been through something like that."
Light went down to the Red Sox complex in Fort Myers, Florida to rehab the injury and it was there that he learned a lot more about his body and how to maintain it, reminiscent of the path that fellow New Jersey hurler Anthony Ranaudo took when he was rehabbing a shoulder injury in 2012.
“The Red Sox have a really good rehab program,” said Light. “The hamstring was kind of an after-thought once I got going. We worked a lot on anchor mobility and working with the hips.
“There were so many things I learned about my body and I learned a lot more on how to stay healthy and maintain it.”
Light returned to live game action in the middle of August, making three appearances for the Gulf Coast Red Sox where he showed his old form, allowing just four hits and two walks over six innings.
He even made it back to Greenville for one last start before season’s end, which proved a bit of a hiccup (2 2/3 innings, 5 ERs) before he returned to Fort Myers for instructs.
It was there that Light regained his confidence, feeling no ill effects on the hamstring while he mowed down teammates with every opportunity he got.
“It was probably the best three weeks of baseball in my career,” said Light. “I threw something like 16 innings and allowed just one run and one walk. It was a good confidence booster.”
With the offseason came a continued rededication to his craft, starting with a move from his home town of Colts Neck, New Jersey to Hoboken, where he reunited with some old housemates who have Pat's health and well-being in mind.
Having shared living space in the past with his brother and sister, the move to Hoboken with his siblings was an ideal situation, given that his brother Sean is a strength and conditioning coach in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization and his sister Colleen is a certified dietician-nutritionist.
They have been key in helping Pat maintain the plan laid out by the Red Sox during the offseason, helping him become stronger and healthier than ever through a strict, daily regiment in the gym and at the dinner table.
“Everything has been really good,” said Light of his offseason with his siblings. “Being with my brother and sister has been vital to keeping me in the right mindset to make sure I’m ready next year.”
However, for the next few weeks Light will be easily distracted with the sights and sounds of his favorite season away from the diamond, the holidays.
“We got the tree up and have lights all over,” said Light. “We have decorations covering pretty much every inch of our place, fake presents, lights up and down the balcony and on the ceiling, icicles everywhere. ”
Once everything is packed back into the boxes and the page turns to 2014 it’s back to business for Light, and with health and redemption as his driving points, he will once again look to establish himself as a top-notch pitching prospect in the Sox organization.
“My number one goal is obviously to stay healthy,” said Light. “I’m back to the old me, my pitches are polished up. Now I just have to take things one game at a time and pitch the way I know that I can.”
The author is solely responsible for the content.