By Noah Gatsik | email@example.com
Every team needs a leader. For the Flagler College baseball team, their leader is on his way back. Andrew Castello is a red-shirted junior pitcher for the Saints, and after a full year away from the game, he is inching closer and closer to a return.
“Our leader is back,” junior pitcher Alex Leighton said. “He is our captain, and some of the younger guys look up to him. I know I looked up to him when I first came here.”
Castello underwent Tommy John surgery in June 2012. According to Dr. Thomas Saylon on saylormd.com, Tommy John surgery is a surgical operation in which a ligament in the medial elbow is replaced with a tendon from elsewhere in the body (often from the forearm, hamstring, hip, knee or foot of the patient).
For Castello, his surgeon Dr. James Paci took a tendon from his hamstring.
“Andrew’s surgery was a great success as the elbow seemed to respond well to the new tendon,” Paci said. “Barring any setbacks, with eight to 12 months of extensive physical therapy and rehab he should be ready to pitch again for the 2014 season.”
What makes Tommy John surgery so unique is the intensive months of physical therapy that comes after the surgery. Castello has been doing his therapy for over a year now at Gold Coast Physical Therapy in New York, N.Y., with therapist Richard Ferriggi.
“The recovery process for this surgery is not easy,’ Ferriggi said. “It’s a long process of basically retraining, strengthening and rebuilding your elbow tendon from scratch. It is my job to make sure Andrew is ready for this coming season. He has put in his time and has done a great job.”
Castello is ready to get back to his teammates and the game he loves.
“Sitting out an entire year was no fun,” said Castello. “You see your teammates out there competing while I’m stuck hopelessly on the bench with what feels like no control. I’ve never had to take a year off from playing anything. It was one of the longest years of my life, but it’s in the past. I’m extremely excited to put that part of my life behind me and to just get back out on that field and do what I love again.”
With the team starting their fall conditioning and practice programs, one thing seems pretty clear: the team is happy and excited to have Castello back out there.
“Losing him last year really hurt us, but now that he is back, we are all excited to get this season underway and get ready for war,” Leighton said. The Saints suffered through a disappointing 24-22 record last year, but now with their heart and soul back, the team seems eager and ready to rebound from their bleak 2013 season.