Seton Hill's Haines preps for MLB draft
College Football Videos
When Alex Haines injured his left elbow after his junior season at Hempfield, he thought the dream of becoming a major leaguer was over.
But Haines had Tommy John surgery and was assured by his doctor, Martin Gillespie, that his career wasn't over.
“I was a little naive about the surgery,” Haines said. “I didn't even know if it was realistic that I'd throw again.”
But Gillespie told Haines he'd come back stronger. “Obviously, I did,” Haines said.
The MLB Draft begins Thursday with the first two rounds, and Haines said he will be eagerly awaiting a call Friday. The Seton Hill junior said he's ranked by at least one scouting service as the No. 1 prospect in the state, going as early as the fourth round.
“When I injured my arm, I never thought I'd be in this position,” he said. “I can't believe I have a shot at being drafted.”
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound left-hander will watch the draft online from his parent's house in Fort Allen.
Haines said once he was cleared to resume his workouts after the surgery, he worked hard and finally got back on the mound his freshman season.
“I didn't throw off the mound for 14 months, but when I hit 90 (mph) in my last outing in the fall of my freshman season, I knew I could do this again,” Haines said. “I'm amazed what I've done. It's kind of not real to me.”
Haines got better each season at Seton Hill. He finished with a 19-6 career record with three saves, six complete games and 233 strikeouts in 1801⁄3 innings.
He was named West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year this past season after going 8-2 with a 2.35 ERA. He's consistently been clocked in the low 90s this spring.
Haines, who has interviewed with almost every MLB team, was clocked between 94-95 mph in 2012 while playing in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. It was his breakout season.
“I had a great season there,” Haines said. “I got to start the all-star game and pitched in front of 5,000 fans. It was probably the highlight of my career.”
Despite the injury prior to Haines' senior season, Seton Hill baseball coach Mark Marizzaldi offered a scholarship.
“Some may say it was a gamble for us to offer him,” Marizzaldi said. “But we had other pitchers that had Tommy John surgery and came back strong.”
Haines spends three or four hours a day either lifting weights or long tossing. He long tosses between 300 and 350 feet.
But it took a rough summer playing in the Valley League in Virginia for Haines to realize he needed to step up his workout routines.
“It made me reconsider my baseball career,” Haines said. “Everything changed after that summer.
“I changed my mindset. I started taking things more serious. I tried to get stronger, faster and bigger to throw harder.”
Haines said he long tosses seven days a week, unusual for most pitchers.
“I try to throw the ball as far as I can and as hard as I can,” Haines said. “It teaches my body to be explosive. If I can throw a baseball 300 feet, it should be easy to throw a baseball 60 feet.”
Marizzaldi said Haines' workout routine is like a professional's.
“He is so focused, so disciplined and so dedicated,” Marizzaldi said. “He really wants it. He wants to make it to the big leagues.”
And Haines said Friday can't come fast enough.
“I've waited 21 years for the draft. I guess I can wait another week,” he said.
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.