Casey Mulholland isn’t worried about the upcoming Major League Baseball Draft — if he gets a call, he gets a call.
He’s not worrying about what his role will be next season with the Ole Miss Diamond Rebels — he understands a spot in the weekend rotation won’t just be given to him because of his recruiting status (“I’m going to have to get up there and earn it,” he said.)
At present, the 6-foot-4, 190-pound right-hander is only concerned with getting back to where he was 15 months ago before Tommy John surgery detoured his career.
After his surgery on March 31, 2010, Mulholland, a former standout at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., enrolled as a post-graduate student at State College of Florida where he has focused on classes and recovering.
Mulholland has begun to throw off of a mound and by July 1 he hopes to play for the DeLand Suns of the Florida Collegiate Summer League.
“I’ve basically just been throwing long toss and working out every day, getting prepared to be 100 percent to get back in the game and compete,” he said on Wednesday evening. “I’m playing against high school kids right now just trying to get prepared and get my bearings back again on the field. Once you take 14 months off from the game you tend to lose, not necessarily confidence, but you start to question what you’re seeing and things you took for granted in the past.
“You still go out there and know your abilities and playing level, but you try to get a feel for where you’re at. It’s been a good transition so far.”
Mulholland believes playing for the Suns this summer will provide a good middle ground for him to judge where he is.
“The next step, playing in the collegiate league, is a great transition to get even more in-depth into where I’m at as a player and get prepared to compete in the SEC next year,” he said. “It’s a pretty good league in Florida. It’s got some good talent. It’s not up there like Cape Cod, the talent isn’t the same, but it is a good league.
“It’s all college kids and it’s a good way for me to continue to move up and get ready for SEC baseball.”
In order to help prevent future arm issues, Mulholland has focused on refining his delivery into a smoother motion.
“That’s where the issue was for me, it was the timing of my hands and my legs. I just worked on my timing, getting used to breaking my hands a little bit earlier,” he said. “It’s basically the timing of when my foot lands and my arm reaches its power position. It’s just getting the arm up and out so that I’m getting my elbow equal or above my shoulder when my front foot is touching.
“Previously I would drag my arm real bad, putting a lot of stress on the elbow and shoulder. For now what I’ve done is I’ve got my arm up and out quicker and I’ve broke my hands quicker, which has allowed me to get to that power position that I want it to be in. When my foot touches, my arm is up and out to get through and generate the velocity that I want. It’s just a more fluid and natural mechanics.”
The transformation of Mulholland’s delivery was a methodical one that he spent time perfecting on the diamond and at home.
“I was stuck on the couch for a while so all I had to do was look in the mirror and decide who I was going to be as a pitcher, do a little mirror work here and there and get back to the basics,” he said. “That gave me the opportunity to change what needed to be changed hopefully for the greater good in the future.”
Mulholland has also experienced a longer recovery time after throwing.
“I’m still trying to get a feel for the time frame at which I come back in between outings,” he said. “I’ll throw a bullpen and my arm might be sore for three or four days. Previously it’d only take me a day or two to get me back to where I was. That’s something I’m still trying to work on.
“I think that will come over time, but the biggest difference from the past and now is simply that, just recovery time.”
Prior to his injury, Mulholland was considered a big-time draft prospect. Because of his injury, his phone didn’t ring last June.
With the draft about a week away, Mulholland said he’s not sure what to expect.“I’ve talked to some people. I don’t exactly know what’s going to happen,” he said. “On draft day I guess we’ll see. If I get a phone call, I get a phone call. If not, it is what it is.”
During his injury-shortened senior season at IMG Academy in 2010, Mulholland was 3-1 with a 1.75 ERA. In 20.0 innings of work, the right-hander struck out 33 and issued just three walks.
He also hit .303 with three home runs and six RBIs in 40 plate appearances.
Several current and future Rebels made Baseball America’s list of top 200 draft prospects that came out on Wednesday.
Right-hander David Goforth was the only current Rebel mentioned, listed at No. 177. Future Rebs listed included Pascagoula outfielder Senquez Golson (107), Biloxi pitcher Hawtin Buchanan (137) and Leander, Texas outfielder Michael Reed (160).
The MLB Draft will begin June 6 and run through the 8th. (May 26, 2011, Page 6)