Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Two Worst Letters

Well it has been a while, both since I last wrote, and since I last played.  For the first time in my career I’ve managed to attach the two worst letters in the world to the end of my player page on MiLB.com.  On their own the letters D and L aren’t all that awful, losses suck, but in baseball you get another opportunity to win the next day.  Put the two together and you have yourself a problem, an ugly, annoying, frustrating problem.

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Last Saturday during our series with Lansing, Dwight Smith Jr hit a hard ground ball to my left that I made a diving attempt on. I was trying to keep the runner on second from scoring more than anything else, knowing the Smith runs very well. Instead of keeping the run from scoring, or getting an out, the ball scooted past me into right field and I landed really hard on my shoulder, jarring it loose.  I immediately knew something wasn’t right, recalling the feeling I had when I hurt my shoulder the same way during my Junior season at Stony Brook.  I kept moving it, swinging it, lifting it up and down, doing any form of the chicken dance to keep it from stiffening up and preventing me from finishing the game.  I iced it down after the game, headed home and hoped for the best, waking up the next morning to a splitting pain, and basically no range of motion.  Standing with my arms hanging at my side, I could move my arm about 5 inches away from my hip before it felt like it hit a wall, one that included a brutal pain.  My immediate thought scared the hell out of me, I didn’t remember ever having pain like this before, I remembered the dead, heavy arm sensation but never the pain.  My first thought as I rolled around in bed that morning was the worst case scenario. What if I’d torn something, needed to get it fixed and would be done for the year? I really did fear the worst.  Nothing changed for a couple of days which made me even more worried.

By the middle of the week, I began to get some range of motion back and the pain wasn’t as bad as it had been.  I had done everything I could within that first three day window, icing it as often as possible to bring down the swelling and inflammation.  I got a phone call on Wednesday telling me I had an MRI scheduled for Thursday morning, something I had been waiting for, since Ricky talked to the doctor a few days earlier.  Having had an MRI before I was less than thrilled, but I knew that I needed to get a firm understanding on what I had done, if I had done anything serious.  I headed over to the imaging center early Thursday morning knowing not only that I’d be stuck in the noisy, claustrophobic tube for 40 minutes, but that I’d get to make the experience more pleasant by adding an enormous needle with contrast dye.  When I walked back to get the shot done I immediately started to freak out, I hate needles more than anything in the world, and I made the mistake of looking at the tray of tools the doctor had laid out.  There were three small needles and one that I imagined was better suited to an elephant than a human.  The first shot, one of the small ones was an anesthetic to help make the huge one less painful.  The doctor told me I’d feel “a little pinch” as the big one went into my shoulder. “Tell my wife and kids I love them and I died in battle,” flashed through my mind as the shot went in, I felt like I’d been shot. (Note, I don’t have a wife or kids but that was somehow what I imagined being the right thing to say) The doctor didn’t like where the tip of the needle was, and so he took it out, and put it back in, finding a better spot, at which point he injected the contrast dye.  People have told me that they felt a cool swishing sensation when the dye goes in, but I was too focused on trying to breathe and not move to recognize if I felt anything other than lonely and sore.   The MRI wasn’t as awful as I expected, I was given headphones that were connected to the radio so I had music playing which helped me pass the time.  When I was done I headed home, met up with Walker and went for lunch.  The whole day my shoulder felt heavy, awkward and really sore from the shots.  I didn’t even end up traveling to South Bend for our final game of the series.

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I found out the MRI was negative, there was no damage to the structure of my shoulder which was a huge relief considering my immediate thoughts.  On Friday my shoulder felt better, having had the 24 hours to rest after the shot and having iced pretty well all day, so I started to go at moving it with our trainer Ricky.  Pat told me I had to do my lower body lift, so my rehab was going to wait.  I rode the bike for 15 minutes as conditioning, then did my weights.  Instead of using dumbbells I wore a weighted vest so as to not pull at my shoulder.  I knocked out the lift, and my legs felt sore having not done much over the previous week.  I then headed into the training room to do my shoulder warm up on the arm bike, yes an arm bike.  For those of you who haven’t experienced one, these are like stationary bikes, except you pedal with your hands, they’re a grind of a workout.  I did 8 minutes going forward, and 8 going backward to warm up before doing some strength tests, and stability exercises with Ricky.  I asked if I could play catch and take ground balls since my shoulder reacted surprisingly well to being used.  Ricky told me that as long as there was no pain I could do it.  It was awesome to be back on the field during batting practice, taking ground balls, turning double plays and throwing a few balls across the diamond.  Having spent 6 days watching BP from the dugout, mostly by myself, it was awesome to be on the infield dirt flipping balls to Rodney, throwing to Tejada and just being around the guys again.  Yesterday I got to take my first swings, doing a short round of tee work, and then 4 rounds of front toss in the batting cage.  My swing felt screwy having not been used in a full week, but again it was great to be back in the cage.   Today I’ll do the same cage routine, and also take front toss on the field, my favorite part of pregame every day.  Hopefully everything will go according to plan and I’ll be taking full BP after our off day.

I’m not going to pull an A-Rod and start saying that I’m ready to go and waiting on the all clear, because we all know how that turned out.  I trust that the training staff and coaches are giving me time, and extra days to make sure I come back healthy, and not in a situation where I’m likely to re-injure myself. I will however say I want to kick those two stupid letters as soon as possible because I’m so tired of coaching first base and watching my team play every day.

A Little Taste

Chadwin Stang

 Hi everyone, my name is Chadwin Stang. I’m a first time blogger but I will do my best to give you all a little look into my life as a professional baseball player and maybe some other surprises.
I’m from Surrey, British Columbia Canada and in the Milwaukee Brewers farm system. Play at the AA level for the Huntsville Stars. I was drafted in 2009, in the 8th round. I went to school at Midland College, was signed to go to LSU before I got drafted. That was one of the hardest decision I had to make in my life this far. LSU had just come off winning the CWS. They are considered the top college baseball programs in the nation. So those things didn’t help making things easier for me. But at the end of the day I had to ask myself, ” do you want to play pro ball?”
My father played baseball and hockey so he had a stick and bat in my brothers and my hands once we were born. Coming from Canada hockey kinda played number one then baseball. But lucky enough I got to enjoy both every year. As I got older though, the two sports started to run into each other. It was time for me to decide what sport I’d focus on. By this time I was 16 yrs old and baseball it was. My following season I got the opportunity to be part of the Jr Nation program and represent my country. This was such a blessing! I got to do that for two years before heading to college.
Going to a Jr college, in my feeling, was one of the best things for me as a ball player. I was able to go in there, play everyday, and develop as a baseball player. Midland college gave me the opportunities I needed to further my career. On a side note, my sophomore year, we had 3 other members of that team that eventually got drafted. Logan Bawcom, Reid Redman, and Brandon Williams.
I am now finishing my 4th year with the Brewers and man have they been interesting! Once I was signed I went straight to rookie ball in Helena, Montana. Had not the best half season there but it got my feet wet for what was to come. That offseason it was the organizations and my decision to learn how to switch hit. This meant that I would learn to hit left handed. Last time I did that was when I was in little league! So I did have very little experience. It was a slow start but really took a grasp of it weeks later. 2010 came a long and was my first spring training of my career. Things started off great! Even was lucky enough to get into a few big league games which were always a blast. But the last game in spring put all the excitement on hold! That game I had torn my meniscus in my knee. It was a mental grind while I was out. Makes me thankful every time I step on the field. I started my rehab 6 weeks later. And once again things were great. Got right back into the groove of things. 5 games into my rehab the excitement was put on hold once again! I torn my labrum in the throwing shoulder. With this I was out for the rest of the year. I didn’t think things could be worse. I had barely started my pro career and all of these things had happened. I was in disbelief. How could another big injury happen to me? Why now? Why me? Why me?
June 2011 I was back at it. But no more switch hitting. Now here I am. In a place where my life long dream is a phone call way. I am so blessed to be where I am today.
I will post soon about what life is like in the minors. It may just surprise some of you!
Chadwin Stang
Milwaukee Brewers

Who am I?

Well this is my first blog post for Viper.  I came to the company after a trial batting practice round in Everett, WA.  I am a small town kid from Chillicothe, Illinois and I have always been in love with the game.  My goals were never ones that were easily attained and often required steps I didnt plan on or want to take.  I went to Illinois state university out of high school as a preferred walk on, like I said not always the plan but that is how I got my college opportunity.  After red-shirting due to an injured shoulder I decided the best route would be to transfer to a jr. college to make sure i get at bats and a lot of playing time.  I transferred to Parkland Jr. College and that is where my baseball life changed.  I learned how to grind when there was no glamour and to love the game when you had no cool gear.  I grew as a person because I realized things weren’t just given out, you had to work and take them.  I got the opportunity then the next year to play at the University of Illinois for two years.  This was awesome, I loved the guys,coaches, classroom, and everything that was part of my Illini experience. My red-shirt sophmore year (jr year) i was drafted in the 26th round by the dodgers, way later than I wanted or expected to be.  I decided to return to school and then as a red-shirt junior i was drafted in the 15th round by the Diamondbacks.  I was thrilled, got on a plane the next morning and was off to Arizona.

My path was one without fame and major success, but I did get the opportunity to play at the professional level which was always a dream.  I believe that The Lord had written a perfect plan for my college career and I believe one is already written for my professional career as well. I am pumped to grind everyday and keep working towards a goal.

Jordan Parr