Floyd continues to be right on schedule
GOODYEAR, Ariz. — When the Indians signed Gavin Floyd on Dec. 16, it was to bring a veteran presence to a young rotation. Eight months after having elbow surgery for the second time in 13 months, Floyd is happy with his progress.
The right-hander said on Wednesday that his level of work during spring training so far is in line compared to past seasons. Floyd is usually a slow starter and builds up his stamina during the spring later than most. He is not expected to start pitching in games until mid-March.
"The pitches and velocity are increasing but I don’t want to do too much, too early. I want to be aggressive but smart," he said.
Floyd had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in May of 2013. After seven seasons with the White Sox, Floyd signed with the Braves last season but didn’t make his debut until May 6. In nine starts he was very effective but saw his comeback halted during the seventh inning in Washington on June 19 when he fractured the olecranon bone in the same elbow. The olecranon is the prominent bone of the elbow joint.
Prior to the setback, Floyd had gone 2-2 with a 2.65 ERA and had struck out 45 in 54 1/3 innings. Dr. David Altchek, who performed both surgeries, told Floyd that the fracture was a rarity, especially after having Tommy John surgery.
"Once it healed they said I was fine. I went back to preparing like normal," Floyd said. "So far I have never had a moment where I was wondering if it was going to break again."
Before the injury, Floyd felt like that was the best he had felt in at least 10 years. Floyd relied primarily on a four-seam fastball and sinker last season while mixing in a curveball, slider and changeup. Floyd’s curveball, which was his third-most used pitch last season, generated a swing and miss 53.1 percent of the time, which is above average according to STATS LLC.
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"I changed up some things mechanically and worked on getting back to what was natural," Floyd said. "I’m excited to continue that and feel like I’m very close to where I was last year."
Floyd got to Goodyear early to work with the Indians training staff and Terry Francona has been pleased with how Floyd has been able to blend in. Francona still hopes that Floyd can get the second spot in the rotation, which would allow Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco to fit in as the third and fourth starters.
Floyd also has a lot of familiarity with the American League. In his seven seasons with the White Sox he was 63-65 with a 4.22 ERA in 175 games.
"He understands the expectations and he promised us he would verbalize how he feels and if he needs an extra day (off from time to time to time)," Francona said. "He’s worked hard and prepared well because the ball is coming out of his hand very well."