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Rocco pays a visit

Posted Jul 17, 2007 by Marc Lancaster

Updated Jul 17, 2007 at 09:34 PM

Rocco Baldelli paid a visit to Tropicana Field tonight and was kind enough to drop by the press box for a quick chat. He has now been out just over two months with a strained left hamstring and there is no end in sight on his rehab. Part of that is because the Rays don’t want to rush him again and risk reinjury, and part of that is because they’re approaching the rehab process differently.

So there is no timetable at the moment, but Baldelli doesn’t expect his latest leg problem to be season-ending.

“I fully plan on being back playing by the end of the season,” he said. “I’m not exactly sure when; it’s tough to say, especially with the minor league games not being on the same schedule as major-league games toward the end of the season.”

Baldelli said he recently started baseball activities again, including throwing and hitting. But it sounds like the key to his recent work has been two-fold:

First, as previously reported, the Rays are trying to alter his running style.

“We’ve been working on shortening my stride and doing things like that,” he said. “Switching it up a little bit to take some pressure off my hamstrings and maybe put it somewhere else.”

Second, Baldelli is doing weight work with his lower body, something he said he hasn’t done since two off-seasons ago because of the pain involved.

“Personally, my choice was to avoid it even if I was encouraged to do it, which I was at times,” he admitted. “I didn’t really want to because it hurt. My hamstrings were so tight, it wasn’t fun. But we’ve let them rest and they’ve relaxed and now that they’re rested and not really tight anymore, we started strengthening them up.”

As he continues to do the grunt work involved in getting back on the field, he acknowledged that the stigma of being injury-prone will be difficult to overcome.

“It’s not easy to wake up and you don’t really feel like you’re a baseball player; you feel like you’re just a rehabber right now,” he said. “It’s not an easy thing to deal with.

“I just think of the times like when I came back last year after not playing for a while and getting back on the field and how much fun it was to be out there. It’s not fun rehabbing, it’s fun to be out there playing. That’s what I think about to just keep me going.”

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