Old Classmate of Mine Signs with Orioles

I ran across this article in today’s Pensacola News Journal:

It’s been the toughest five years of Tim Spooneybarger’s baseball life.

Now there is a happy ending in sight.

Battling back from two Tommy John elbow surgeries and countless sessions of intense physical therapy, Spooneybarger, a 28-year-old relief pitcher and Pensacola native, signed a one-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles Monday.

“Oh, man, I’m thrilled to death,” Spooneybarger said. “I’ve just been throwing, getting back into it, just waiting until the time was right. Now that it’s finally happened, I can’t believe that I’m sitting here. I’m back doing it again. I’m excited as can be.”

Drafted in the 29th round of the 1998 MLB Draft, the former Pine Forest standout broke into the major leagues in 2001 as a relief pitcher for the Atlanta Braves and started his promising career with the Braves (2001-02) and Florida Marlins (2003).

Everything changed in June of 2003 when Spooneybarger was sidelined with what was thought to be a minor elbow injury. It proved to be the first of two reconstructive elbow surgeries — he re-injured his throwing elbow in 2005 — and he hasn’t thrown a major league pitch since.

Spooneybarger left Pensacola for Sarasota Monday morning and will participate in the Orioles’ extended spring training. He will get game action moving up through Baltimore’s minor league system and hopes for a return to the major league club by the All Star Break in July.

Spooneybarger was a classmate of mine at Bellview Middle School up to 1994. I remember watching a Braves game one night and suddenly there’s this pitcher warming up for the Braves, who just happened to be from Pensacola. So, I looked him up and sure enough, there he is in my class. Glad to see he hasn’t given up on his dream and hopefully he makes it back.


~ by Steve L. on April 22, 2008.

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