The climb to the top can be tough for any Minor Leaguer, but for Nashville Sounds Bobby Wahl everything was going according to plan, and at the age of 25 the right-handed reliever received the call he’d been waiting for.
“I mean it’s every kid’s dream to get that call to the big leagues and to have it the way I did with the guys I came up with, that’s just how special that moment was for me,” Bobby Wahl said.
But after appearing in just seven games for Oakland, he was thrown the ultimate curveball.
“I noticed from outing to outing I just wasn’t recovering the same and a lot of the day to day stuff too. I was having some weird neck pains, and had a gradual feeling of something wasn’t right,” added Wahl.
And it wasn’t. With the help of the A’s medical staff, Wahl was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. This is a group of disorders that occur when blood vessels or nerves in the space between your collarbone and your first rib are compressed. Surgery was the only option.
“What they do is go up here under your collarbone and they take off your first rib, so the day of my surgery I wake up and the doctor is there with my rib,” said Wahl.
That rib stayed in a glass jar with his father and after a week, Wahl was back on a plane to Oakland.
Wahl said, “I had surgery on Monday and I think by Friday I was back in Oakland doing pool workouts and moving around. I was really fortunate in my recovery I didn’t have any setbacks, and everything was pretty smooth.”
But after backtracking, the trail to the top needed to be paved again. And this season it’s started in Nashville. Sounds pitching coach Rick Rodriguez works with Wahl on a daily basis.
“Mechanically he looks a lot smoother then he did before, for me the ball coming out he’s hitting 97 so he’s getting close,” said Rodriguez.
Wahl added, “I’m getting there. I feel like I’m throwing the ball pretty well right now and it’s hard for me to just sit there and think wow I had surgery just a year ago. It’s pretty cool. It’s just the work you put in day to day.”
With the injury behind him, Wahl is looking to the future- he’s seen the view from up top before and plans on seeing it again soon.