Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Gillies back on diamond

 For the Tyson Gillies fans out there. . . .

Daily News Sports Editor
The smile is back in Tyson Gillies’ voice.
Gillies, who missed almost all of last season with hamstring problems, is back playing professional baseball again. And he couldn’t be happier.
“It’s been awesome,” a joyful sounding Gillies said Wednesday from Clearwater, Fla. “The first game, I felt like I’d been playing for a month so it’s been going well.”
Gillies, 22, is from Kamloops and is considered one of the Philadelphia Phillies’ better outfield prospects, despite having sat out most of last season.
When his left hamstring flared up on him again earlier this year, the Phillies sent Gillies to see Ron Hruska, who specializes in postural restoration, at the Hruska Clinic in Lincoln, Neb.
Gillies, who had only 113 plate appearances with the Class AA Reading Phillies last season, admits he was “worried” prior to his first trip to Lincoln.
“But working with Ron Hruska . . . he was such a positive guy about everything,” Gillies said. “He wasn’t the slightest bit worried about it. That definitely helped.”
It helped, too, that Hruska almost immediately recognized the problem.
“He looked at me, kind of moved my leg . . . then he wanted to do a couple of tests with me,” Gillies recalled. “He knew right away which test I would be very good at and which one I wouldn’t even be able to do. He was dead-on on all of them. He was pretty impressive.”
According to Gillies, Hruska said that a slight groin tweak suffered in spring training in 2010 may have started the whole process.
“It could have gone downhill from there,” Gillies stated.
The bottom line, Gillies said, is that his left groin and right hip weren’t working together.
“They weren’t firing,” Gillies said. “They weren’t working properly. My left hamstring was compensating for both of those not working, which is why it wasn’t healing. It was like a mild hamstring strain and would never heal because those two things would never start working.”
The prescription was a series of exercises that Gillies has “to do every day now to fire up the groin and the hip . . . a lot of hip stuff and a lot of groin stuff.”
The result has been that Gillies said he feels “great . . . I’m more balanced, more in line. I can feel it just walking.”
But, of course, it’s one thing to walk, and another to run. And, if Gillies is going to make it to the majors, he will do it because of his running speed.
“It’s been great and I haven’t had any problems with my leg in a while now,” he said. “Being able to be out there and run again . . . that’s been my life always. That’s the only thing I know.
“It’s great being out and playing every day. I’m happy.”
To date, he has played seven games on his rehab assignment in Clearwater, and he is hitting .435. Combine that with how well he feels and he thinks he could be back with Reading in a week or 10 days.
“They’re trying to make sure that I’m 100 per cent before I get out of here,” Gillies said. “They don’t want me to take a step back and have to come back here. They’re being very cautious.
“It’s definitely a frustrating thing to go through, but the last thing I want to do is go start playing for my team again and not be ready.
“But I should be going up soon.”
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