Mike King shares his experience of ‘nerve-wracking’ MRI

Mike King
Michael Bennington
Friday November 25, 2022

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Mike King hopes to return soon. The Yankees reliever just started throwing again after breaking his elbow on July 22 and having surgery. But Mike King still feels the pinch when he remembers his ‘nerve-wracking’ MRI following an elbow injury while throwing against the Orioles in July this year.

“I’ve felt like a baseball player,” Mike King told while talking to Meredith Marakovits of the YES Network, “I haven’t felt like that in about three months.”

But his mind continues to have thoughts of worry and doubt that have become a part of his life after the injury. Mike King had an MRI on his right elbow at the end of September to see if the ulnar collateral ligament had been hurt enough to need Tommy John surgery.

He had no idea what would happen. If the UCL was okay, Mike King would probably be ready for Opening Day next year. If not, his season in 2023 would have probably been over.

“It was a little scary for me to go into that MRI,” he said, “I kept hoping. I’m a positive person. I do my best to send out as many good vibes as I can. When I heard that the ligament was fine and completely intact, it put my mind at ease and made me very excited for my throwing program to start.”

In the first half of the season, the 27-year-old pitcher had a strong case to be on the American League All-Star team. Mike King finished with a 2.29 ERA in 34 starts.

The Yankees missed Mike King a lot because their bullpen had been hurt all season and they went into the playoffs with a very weak unit.

King said that he has been throwing from 60 feet away at the team’s Tampa player development complex.

“I’ve been feeling great. I think the problem that I have now is actually that I’m feeling too good and that I have to pull the reins a little bit, which is a good problem to have. I’ve got the coaches down in Tampa and the (physical trainers) up here really helping me out. We created a good program that will hopefully lead me right into spring training.”

Mike King also said that he had a good year because he pitched without thinking about his role. He had mostly been a starting pitcher going into 2022, but he had done some relief work here and there.

“To me, that got to me. It was a learning curve for me to not care about my role and just go out there and pitch and because I was looking at the high-leverage relievers and I wanted to be that. Or I wanted to be the starters that started every fifth day, and I wanted to be that. I felt like it took away from me actually being out there and pitching. I know that as a young guy, you’re never given a role when you come in, and I wanted to establish myself as fast as possible. That was the wrong mindset. It should have just been to go out there and just pitch to the best of my ability and let the coaches define my role for me.”

He is excited about the year:

“I’ve already talked to (pitching coach) Matt Blake about what role he thinks is best for me, what role I like the best and also just kind of making sure I’m filling into spots to help the team win. We have so many guys that can close for us, we’ve talked about it a ton. I’d love to close if I’m going to be a reliever. I’d love to start if I’m going to be a starter. There’s a lot of question marks coming into this year again and I just want to keep having that same mindset.”

What do you think about King’s expectations? Leave your comment below.

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