Blog Entry

Rockies' Nicasio on comeback from broken neck

Posted on: January 10, 2012 11:53 am
Edited on: January 10, 2012 11:57 am

By Matt Snyder

Here's a heart-warming story for you on this Tuesday. Rockies pitcher Juan Nicasio -- who broke his neck last season -- is on the comeback trail. In fact, he's on track to compete for a job in the starting rotation come spring training.

"He's been throwing to hitters with an L screen (that provides protection)," said Rolando Fernandez, the Rockies' director of Latin America operations ( "He's doing good."

Nicasio broke his C1 vertebra on August 5 last season when he violently fell to the ground after being struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond. Nicasio was forced to undergo surgery -- in which doctors put in a metal plate to stabilize the neck -- and was then placed in a cervical collar. He quickly began to progress shortly thereafter, though, getting back all his movements and walking within the next few weeks. And he's now facing hitters, albeit with the benefit of L-screen protection.

The next step, which may very well prove more tough mentally than physically, will be for Nicasio to face hitters without the benefit of the L screen in spring training. Rockies' pitchers and catchers report to camp on February 19, so he still has over five weeks to prepare.

Nicasio, 25, was 4-4 with a 4.14 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 58 strikeouts in 71 2/3 innings last season as a rookie. He was very impressive in Double-A (5-1, 2.22 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 10.0 K/9) before injuries in the Rockies' rotation forced him to be promoted.

The Rockies currently have Jhoulys Chacin and Jason Hammel pretty firmly entrenched in the starting rotation. After that, Nicasio figures to be competing with Alex White, Drew Pomeranz, Kevin Slowey, Tyler Chatwood, Clayton Mortensen and Esmil Rogers for one of three spots.

While it would be a stretch to say Nicasio is one of the physical favorites, he's gotta be the sentimental favorite.

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Category: MLB

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: January 10, 2012 7:33 pm

Rockies' Nicasio on comeback from broken neck

This just happens to be one of the feel good stories of baseball and life. A person in this case Juan Nicasio gets knocked down with a severe injury. That line drive broke his neck the doctors fixed his body and then it was up to Juan. The first reports last October were not good,then reports in December were good in fact very good. In fact he was playing catch at the Rockies training camp. Long toss then on the mound now pitching to live batters is fantastic. I have no doubt in my mind what the human body cane come back from. Juan has made it this far and looking forward to watching him pitch this spring.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: January 10, 2012 3:57 pm

Rockies' Nicasio on comeback from broken neck

Hopefully he makes it back because they're going to need another good arm.
Pomeranz is going to be #3 and could likely be #1 by end of season. So he'll probably have to beat out Slowey or Rogers for #5.

Since: May 8, 2007
Posted on: January 10, 2012 2:22 pm

Rockies' Nicasio on comeback from broken neck

Congrats to Juan Nicasio, and to the Rockies organization for handling his medical situation as properly as possible. What a scary event, and certainly one that won't soon be forgotten by those who saw the play. It takes a lot of guts to get back on the horse so quickly, so consider me among the impressed with this young man. I broke my nose (collision), and wrist (dove for a liner) in separate plays while playing outfield as a younger man. Several years later, I still hesitate to dive in the outfield, and even the lazy fly balls in the gap still have me thinking. Count me as someone rooting for Nicasio, and I've never been a Rockies fan, that's for certain. 

Since: May 7, 2007
Posted on: January 10, 2012 1:14 pm

Rockies' Nicasio on comeback from broken neck

Great Comeback Juan! Even though the Rockies rotation looks like it might be the worst in the majors on paper, I have a sneaking suspicion they will be better than we all think. Maybe I'm crazy, maybe not. I hope I'm right though because I'm not looking forward to another season of mediocre at best baseball!

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