LAKELAND, Fla. — Detroit Tigers right-handed pitcher Alex Faedo’s 2021 season was over before it began.
Faedo had Tommy John Surgery in December 2020. The former University of Florida and Alonso High School standout was on track to make his Major League debut this year, but that will be pushed back.
“Baseball is tough. It’s a grind. That’s the beauty of it,” Faedo said.
Sometimes that beauty is in the struggle.
“It’s just more adversity you have to get through,” he said. “I don’t think anyone will feel sorry for you through the process. This is a real special opportunity. I think having Tommy John Surgery is tough, but I think it’s a good time to get your body right. You get a year to really work on yourself mentally and physically. So, I’m hoping to come out of this process better than before.”
Faedo goes through physical therapy every morning at the Tigers spring training facility in Lakeland.
“Getting my range of motion back was the biggest thing in the beginning,” Faedo said. “I get to workout one-on-one with the guys. We’re trying to put some weight on me, get stronger. It’s crazy because like every day you feel a little better. You can actually feel a difference somehow.”
The benchmark for a full recovery for Tommy John Surgery is 14-16 months. The hardest part for Faedo was the first week after surgery.
“The week of doing nothing was pretty annoying. I was locked up with my arms stuck like that.”
In 2019, he pitched in Double-A and put together a 3.90 ERA with 134 strikeouts and 25 walks in 115 1/3 innings of work. Two years before that, he helped the Gators win the program’s first national championship. He also starred at Alonso under head coach Landy Faedo, his dad.
“Watching him grow up, he was a late bloomer,” Landy said. “I was hoping he’d be good enough to play for me at one point, maybe play some junior college, maybe get a scholarship. During his junior year he started to blossom. Who is this guy?”
His son blew those expectations away when he was drafted 18th overall in 2017. Now the focus is on 2022.
“It’s six months before you can start throwing, 12 months until bullpens start,” Faedo said. “So hopefully I can start throwing bullpens late December, early January. Then possibly get some bullpens, live BPs in spring training next year. So I think as long as everything goes well I shouldn’t miss much time at all next season.”