By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Ryan Kulik was one of the top pitching prospects to ever emerge out of Cherokee High School and Rowan University. In 2008, the left-hander was taken by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 8th round of the MLB Draft. He quickly moved up the organizational ladder, getting as high as AAA in 2010, just a phone call away from every kid’s dream of pitching in the Major Leagues.
However, the next year the wheels would come off the wagon.
“I would say it happened in spring training of 2011,” Kulik tells KYW Newsradio. “I was just throwing and they kind of dropped me down a little bit sidearm, not all the way sidearm, but low three-quarters to try and get lefties out. I never threw that way before and started doing that, and I think that’s kind of where it happened.”
“It” was a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow.
“My arm didn’t feel great,” Kulik says. “I didn’t think it was anything serious. I tried throwing through it, thought it was tendinitis and I just kept getting worse and worse. My velocity started dropping, my command was all over the place. I was hurt the whole time and didn’t know it.”