It took just nine months and three days to get back on the mound following my Tommy John surgery. Initially, I figured I'd miss the entire season, but everything has gone extremely well. I haven't had a single setback and my arm feels great -- even the day after I pitch.My sinker is sinking again and my arm should continue to get better and better. I'm told that when I get to the 11- or 12-month mark my, arm is really going to start coming back. That's when it's going to be really fun. It's wonderful to be competing again. Plus, I'm rejoining the Orioles in the middle of a pennant race. That, by itself, makes it fun to come to the ballpark every day. The clubhouse is always buzzing. Every pitch, every at-bat means something. You're playing for a purpose -- to win a game and get into the playoffs. I really didn't have any apprehensions about trying to come back this quickly. I gained a lot of perspective this winter when a twin-engine plane crashed into my house in the Kansas City suburbs while my wife and little girl were inside. While baseball has always been extremely important in my life, you tend to reorganize your priorities when you have a close a call like that. My wife, Dana, and my 5-year-old daughter, Rayne, were literally 30 feet from where the plane hit the house. God must have had his hands around them to protect them. I was dropping my boys, Hunter and John, off at school when it happened. It just happened that there was a funny noise in the front end of my truck that morning so I called a buddy at a Chevrolet place and asked if they could take a look at it after I dropped off the boys. If I hadn't stopped by the garage to have the truck checked, I would have been just pulling up to the house or sitting in the room where the plane crashed through. Our family was fortunate. The whole episode has served as an awakening for me. It was like God telling me, "Look, there are things that mean a whole lot more than baseball and I'm going to show you what some of those things are." I realize that now. I still have the love and the joy of competing, but I no longer feel any pressure in baseball. That new outlook had a positive effect on the rehabilitation process. It relaxed me. It made me realize that anything that happens from here on in my baseball career is a bonus. I knew I'd been given another chance. So I told my doctor, Timothy Kremchek, and my trainer, Chris Mihlfeld, that my arm felt good and I wanted to step on the gas. I told them, "I want to push it and see if my arm will break. I'm not afraid because I don't have anything to lose." There wasn't a whole lot of babying in the rehab process. When Dr. Kremchek told me that my arm wasn't going to break, we all decided to throw protocol out the window and write our own book. As I said, I didn't have anything to lose. I'd been written off for the year and I realized I'm nearing the end of my career. So I decided to give it a chance and see what happens. I've had a couple of outings now and my arm feels fine. It responds even better than it used to the day after I pitch, too. For the first time since I can recall, my arm doesn't throb afterwards. It's difficult to express how blessed I feel to have been able to get through all that transpired through the winter and to be back pitching for the Orioles again. I have to thank God first, but I also want to thank my wife, Dana. Without her I wouldn't be in the position I'm in now. She's been an absolute rock. You know the saying, behind every good man is a good woman? I want to amend that to say, in front of every good man, there's a good woman. She's the sane one. She provides the common sense and the stability to our relationship. Without her steady, calming presence, we wouldn't have been able to get through this past winter. Now every day on the mound will be a bonus for the rest of my career. A right-handed sinkerball pitcher who has previously played for the Phillies, Indians, Angels, Yankees and Royals during his 13-year career, Jason Grimsley was traded to the Orioles last June and underwent Tommy John surgery on Oct. 12. He returned to the mound on July 15.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.