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Ranaudo hip on returning big in 2013

Posted by Craig Forde  January 19, 2013 03:07 AM

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Ranaudo.jpgOnce a top five prospect for the Boston Red Sox, pitcher Anthony Ranaudo's stock dropped after an injury plagued 2012 season that never allowed him to get out of the starting gates with any momentum.

Now, as he gears up for Spring Training, the 23-year-old righty is discovering what it takes to get back to what made him a 2011 first round pick.

"By the injury you learn a lot about your body," said Ranaudo, who suffered from groin and arm injuries last year. "You learn about different things that you need to do to stay healthy. Unfortunately you don't ever want to get hurt and learn that way but since I did I'm trying to find the positive from it and learn about my body and my strength conditioning program."

A groin strain late in spring training set back the start of his regular season until mid-May and after posting a 1-3 record in nine starts with AA Portland, his season was unexpectedly cut short when he suffered from a dead arm.

"Once I got back on the mound I don't think I was 100% ready," said Ranaudo. "I don't know if it was mentally or physically, but I felt fine.

"Obviously I had arm issues. A lot of the stuff that I showed when I was on the field was not my best, so there is a lot to prove from my end. It's nothing that I can talk about, nothing that I can say, it's something that I have to go out on the field and do."

In November he got back on the mound for Caguas of the Puerto Rico Baseball League, and in 9 2/3 innings of work he walked only two batters and struck out nine.

Ranaudo did suffer through two tough outings where he allowed eight earned runs over two innings and though he tweaked the groin that plagued him in spring, he looks upon his experience positively.

"It was a lot of fun and a great experience," said Ranaudo who used the opportunity to learn from some of the older teammates. "From the baseball standpoint, that was as good as my body had felt in a really, really long time.

"As far as the 'stuff' standpoint, I felt like my stuff was just really back. My velocity was back to where everybody wanted it to be, where I wanted to be. I was pitching with confidence and being able to use my breaking ball, my curve and my changeup in different sequences and be successful with that."

His positivity in the face of the speedbump that was his 2012 baseball season stems from the countless physical therapy sessions over the past year, which have also served as a class in self-preservation for Ranaudo.

"From doing my physical therapy, you learn how important your hips are in baseball," said Ranaudo. "You always hear "keep your hips loose" and "keep your hips healthy" and that it's a key to a long career, for pitchers at least.

"Everything I'm doing for my groin now is hip strengthening, hip flexibility and things along those lines. You don't really think how different parts of your body are in connection with each other until, unfortunately, you find out the hard way. It's pretty crazy, but it's cool, because I'm into that stuff. It's been a good experience for me to learn different things."

This new found knowledge now feeds his urge to be back on the mound and with Spring Training within reach, he's ready to re-establish his spot as an elite prospect in the Sox organization.

"Hopefully I can just keep it at a hiccup," said Ranaudo. "Hopefully I'll be able to learn from this and be able to look back and have a long successful career.

"I'm healthy. I'm on my throwing program. I'm on my strength and conditioning program. I've been doing PT for my hips and my groin for the past 3-4 weeks. I'm definitely excited and ready to get down to Ft. Myers."

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Anthony Ranaudo photo credit - John Corneau/Lowell Spinners

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About the author

Craig Forde covers baseball talent as it develops into the next big thing. He has covered high school and college sports for the Boston Globe, and the minor league teams More »

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