Corrente returns to the Herd mound - thinks he can probably still gas up his fastball to the low-80s if he has to.

sportsgold 100x100By Ken Pagan

June 15th, 2017



Rich Corrente has had two Tommy John surgeries on his left elbow, so how hard can he throw now that he’s recovered and back on the mound?

Doesn’t matter.

Corrente, 25, who is back in baseball after sitting out the 2016 season, is proving that less is more during a strong early showing for the Burlington Herd (3-8).

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Rich Corrente

The three-year IBL veteran threw a career-high 115 pitches in a complete-game 4-1 win over the Brantford Red Sox on Saturday, his most impressive outing yet that leaves him second in the IBL with a 1.12 ERA. In 24 innings this season, he has given up just three earned runs with a 0.75 WHIP (11 hits and seven walks).

The numbers are quite a contrast from when he last picked up a baseball during the 2015 IBL season (7.33 ERA over 54 innings with the Burlington Bandits) and in 2014 (5.76 ERA in 39 innings).

“I don’t even know,” Corrente said when asked to explain his early success. “I took last year off and rested my arm. Every time I get my chance to go in, I’m just doing my thing. This is my third year in the league and I always tell guys, ‘you have to know how to throw to guys in the IBL.’ You’re not going to throw hard enough to throw a fastball by anyone, so you have to trust your offspeed stuff and go with that.”

The six-foot-two southpaw, a Chatham native now living in Burlington, had his first Tommy John ligament replacement surgery in 2010 while attending Erie Community College. He had the procedure again in 2013 while pitching at St. Catharine College in Kentucky.

He has emerged post-Tommy John with more of a three-quarter delivery, which not only limits elbow soreness, but probably adds some movement to his pitches.

He thinks he can probably still gas up his fastball to the low-80s if he had to. But he doesn’t have to. And good luck if you go up against him looking for a fastball.

“Honestly, I don’t even care how hard I throw,” said Corrente. “In my mind, it’s not how hard you throw, it’s how consistent you are. You have to throw strikes and you’re not going to blow a fastball by anybody. If it’s down the middle, they’re crushing it.”

The year away from baseball in 2016 wasn’t so much about letting his arm rest as much as it was about enjoying his personal time, but he’s refreshed and glad to be back on the mound with the Herd.

“I just wanted to enjoy my summer,” he said of sitting out last season. “You don’t get much of a summer when you’re playing ball.

“I’m having fun. I’m glad to be back. I feel like I bring some experience and we have a young team.”

Corrente will return to the mound this weekend with the Herd preparing for three games in three days. Burlington visits Hamilton to face the Cardinals (2-7) on Friday night before hosting the London Majors (10-0) on Saturday at Nelson Park at 1:05 p.m. The Herd then travel to Toronto on Sunday afternoon for a date at Christie Pits with the Toronto Maple Leafs (6-7).

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