Oklahoma City RedHawks right-hander Alex White once was ranked among the top 100 prospects in the minor leagues, the centerpiece of the Rockies’ trade that sent Ubaldo Jimenez to the Indians.
Eighteen months later, White is simply trying to regain his arm strength after being sidelined the entire 2013 season soon after the Astros obtained the North Carolina University product in a December 2012 trade.
White, who will turn 26 later this week, was hoping to impress his new team in spring training, but the elbow wasn’t ready.
“Since it would have been a full year I thought I’d be near 100 percent, but it didn’t happen that quickly for me,” White said. “It’s forced me to be patient because early in the season it just wasn’t there.”
White, who will make his final home start Tuesday night at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark against Albuquerque, has compiled a deceptive 3-5 record with a 5.90 ERA with the RedHawks since he was activated in June.
More revealing, White in his last four starts is 2-1 with a 3.46 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 26 innings.
“That (Tommy John surgery) varies with each individual,” said Oklahoma City pitching coach Steve Webber. “Some guys never make it back to where they were. Some undergo a second surgery. Give him credit for staying the course. Now he’s through the worst part of it, and his stuff is starting to come back.”
White said it was frustrating his recovery took longer than anticipated, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
“When I first came back I was only throwing 86 (mph). I used to throw in the mid- to upper-90s,” White said. “It taught me how to pitch, how to get guys out when you’re not throwing as hard. It’s been a learning experience.”
A first-round pick, the 15th overall selection in the 2009 draft, White soared through the minors in the Indians system.
In his first two pro seasons, White notched a 2.34 ERA in nearly 200 minor league innings. He was roughed up with the Rockies in a late-season audition (2-4, 8.42 ERA) following the trade for Jimenez.
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