Brady Feigl pretty much had to start over three years ago.
The left-handed reliever injured his elbow playing for Triple-A Gwinnett and missed more than a year recovering from Tommy John surgery. Since then, he started in rookie ball and progressed through the levels before making it back to the Triple-A level with the Express this season.
“There have been a lot of ups and downs,” Feigl said. “Those injuries have been two downers. But to get back to Triple-A where I got hurt, I was so close three years ago, it means a lot. I’ve worked my butt off to get here.”
Feigl picked up his first save of the season for the Express against Colorado Springs a couple weeks ago, the first time he’s come in for a save since his career-changing injury in 2015. He said it was a small victory.
He’s always heard rumors about what the immediate feeling was when an injury like that happens. He said he didn’t feel or hear a pop, it was more of a tug and a feeling that something was wrong.
Feigl tried to throw a few more pitches, but struggled to get through it and woke up the next morning with his arm swollen.
“I knew it was going to be a long recovery,” he said. “Just knowing that the history behind the injury and how many success stories there have been, I was going to put the work in and whatever happens was going to happen.”
After he fully recovered, Feigl said his velocity increased a little bit and he might have changed his mechanics a little bit, but nothing drastic.
In 23 games with Round Rock this season, he boasts a perfect 5-0 record, one save, 23 strikeouts and a 2.43 ERA, the best on the team among players that have made at least 20 appearances.
“He fits in really well down (in the bullpen),” Express Manager Jason Wood said. “I look at Brady as someone that has a lot of power in that arm. He has a good curveball and if he develops something a little softer to throw off that fastball, he’s going to go a long way.”
Feigl said his outlook on being a professional baseball player has changed since he got hurt and he’s having a little more fun because he knows he can’t play the game forever.
His clubhouse presence reflects that.
“He’s a guy that is on top of things,” Wood said. “He has fun when we take batting practice out there shagging balls. He has fun throughout the clubhouse. Even though he’s had some injuries, he’s ready to take the ball every day. We rely on him and he hasn’t let us down.”
Feigl, who grow up in Maryland, remembers one of the first appearances of his professional career when he was visiting the Hagerstown Suns, in Hagerstown, Maryland with his family and friends in the stands.
It was 30 degrees and raining and his first thought was ‘What did I get myself into?’
But he’s carved out a nice little niche in the Round Rock bullpen and there’s only one more step he hopes to take.
“There’s always room for improvement,” he said. “I’m just going to keep trying to master different pitches and try to get better. That’s what this game is, it’s a game of adjustments. It’s hard to get up to the big leagues, but it’s even harder to stay. It comes down to executing.”