For the Tyson Gillies fans out there . . .
By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
Tyson Gillies was back running on Tuesday for the first time in three weeks.
Now that may not seem like such a big deal, but when you’re a professional baseball player whose game depends on speed, well, it’s tough when you aren’t able to run.
Gillies, a centre fielder who is from Kamloops, is on the disabled list with the double-A Reading Phillies of the Eastern League. A strained left hamstring has limited him to 26 games, during which time he hit just .238 with two doubles, one triple and two stolen bases.
The 22-year-old Gillies spent 2009 with the High Desert Mavericks, a Seattle Mariners affiliate that plays in the advanced Class A California League. He had a breakout season, hitting .341 with a .430 on-base percentage and a .916 OPS (on-base plus slugging). He also stole 44 bases and walked 60 times.
During the offseason, the Mariners included Gillies in the package to the Philadelphia Phillies that landed left-hander Cliff Lee, the former Cy Young Award winner who has since been dealt to the Texas Rangers.
“The injury has been very frustrating, but it’s coming along . . . finally,” Gillies told The Daily News in an email on Tuesday. “I have been doing millions of exercises to get myself better.”
Gillies first went on the disabled list on May 12. He came off June 15 and tried to give it a go, but was back on the DL just 10 days later.
“This has been an extreme battle for me,” he wrote. “Nothing is harder than watching your team go out there day in and day out and have to sit there watching them play every single day.”
Reading went into last night with at 46-48, 10 1/2 games off the pace in the EL’s Eastern Division.
Gillies added that, while he is working hard to get back on the field, he also has been trying to stay positive.
“I have been able to work a lot with my hitting and things like that,” he noted, “things that are going to help me be a lot more successful down the road.”
He especially has been working on slowing things down in the batter’s box, something he knew last spring that he was going to have to do.
While Gillies is the first to acknowledge that he got off to a slow start this season, he felt that things were coming around when he first was injured.
“It was just tough that before I got hurt I started to really turn things around,” he wrote. “Everyone has to go through this kind of thing and I am very thankful that I haven’t had to until now.
“So I just have to be patient and worry about the things I am able to control rather than the things I am not.”
In eight games from April 30 through May 10, Gillies was 12-for-32 (.375). He then went on the DL for the first time. He came back and played in two games before being DL’ed once again.
Gillies now is aiming to get back into the lineup early in August, after which he hopes he is able to stay healthy.
“I am hoping that I will be healthy (enough) to go for the whole month of August and September,” he stated. “I will be happy if I am able to have a strong finish.”
He also has plans to play this winter, something he hasn’t done in the past.
“I will be playing a lot this winter, so that will be a good thing,” he wrote. “That will help me be more adjusted to the game before I get back to spring training for next year.”