Davis Ready For A Clean Slate

Davis is still building up his strength

You wouldn't know it by looking at the numbers in his debut season -- 2.65 ERA, as many strikeouts as innings pitched -- but right-hander Rookie Davis is thankful to put his season behind him and start off with a clean slate in 2013.

He logged just 17 innings with the Gulf Coast League Yankees this past season after a very good Extended Spring Training, but a bout of a tired arm period was followed by a nasty virus that completely wreaked havoc on his debut season.

"I didn't injure my arm or anything. I had a little bit of, not even dead arm really, just tired arm towards the end of Extended [Spring Training]," Davis said. "I took two weeks off and missed the first start [of the GCL] that I was supposed to make.

"I then came out and pitched really well. For two or three games there I was lights out. Then I got a virus -- we're not 100 percent certain what happened there. I went out for stretch one morning and my whole body didn't feel right.

"It sidelined me for two weeks of nothing. I lost 30 pounds in ten or twelve days and it wasn't anything I did or anything I could remember, I just had a really bad fever for a while."

Unable to eat hardly anything, he not only was throwing up a lot but he had a constant fever day in and day out for the better part of two weeks and the combination of the rapid weight loss and zapped energy had a long-lasting effect on his overall strength for pretty much the remainder of the season.

"It was bad," he said. "People down here asked me what happened and I'd give them the same answer -- it's like it happened overnight. I had a case of food poisoning when I was in high school and I can honestly say I'd take that over what happened to me this summer.

"I couldn't eat very much, I was losing weight, and once I got back I tried to regain my strength and it's hard that late in the season to get something going.

"They did a great job of getting me back on the field, get me throwing, and get me strong enough for that playoff push to try and get some wins."

Even though he missed just a month of the season with the illness, the fact is though he never was completely himself again on the mound. The good news, however, was he did begin to gain some of his strength back as the season wore on.

"I've put a little bit of the weight back on," he revealed. "I still don't feel 100 percent and that's kind of expected. I had a long talk with the trainers and they gave me an idea of what to expect.

"I'm going to take a couple of weeks off and try and rest up, let my body rest up and then get after it hard once I'm strong enough.

"I'm going to get into the gym, get my work in, and get strong for next year. I'll be 100 percent whenever I report for Spring Training next year and I'll be ready to go."

The weight and energy loss zapped him of his fastball velocity, getting it all the way down to the 86-89 mph range, and the lost innings didn't really allow him to work on his secondary pitches too much either.

But Davis, who has since put on 15-20 of those lost pounds, is slowly getting back to where he once was.

"After I went down [with the illness] I took the time during the games to watch some of the hitters and see how our guys were pitching to them and talked to some of the veteran guys that were rehabbing down there," he said. "Whenever I came back, obviously my velocity was down and it stayed down the rest of the year.

"I was really aggressive with my fastball in Spring Training and Extended, and in the first couple of starts of the year, because I felt like I had a live fastball. I rely on that fastball a lot.

"Whenever I came back from being sick the velocity wasn't there so I was working down in the zone, in and out, and my changeup came a long way once I came back from that. I started trusting my secondary pitches a little more and really just worked on hitting my spots.

"I had some good starts and one shaky one. I was really able to work on my location a lot more because I really had to focus a lot more with the four to five miles per hour off of my fastball."

The fastball did hit the 90 mph plateau during Instructs and his curveball in particular really developed a bunch there considering how much time he had missed during the season, so he isn't really looking at his debut season as a lost year at all.

"I don't necessarily look at it as a reset button," he said of next year. "It's definitely a good feeling looking forward to going to my second Spring Training fully healthy and feeling good, not having any problems and having a clean slate.

"I learned a lot whenever I was on the DL with the sickness and I learned a routine with my arm to make sure it stays strong throughout the year. It's an experience I wish I wouldn't have had to go through.

"Obviously I would have liked to have been out there with my team and try to help make that playoff run whenever we had the chance to, but it's a learning experience and that's the way I have to look at it; the first year is behind me and now I have to look forward to getting back out there with the guys and making a run at it again."

While he isn't 100 percent strength-wise, he is at least health-wise and now he's on the road to recovering his power and stamina, and that has him excited for what could be next season.

"I'm ready to get back out there. I'm looking forward to a full second season, try and get stronger as the season goes on, and see what happens," he concluded.

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