Grove Is Not Taking Anything For Granted

Photo by Seth Staskey Los Angeles Dodgers draft pick Michael Grove, who is a Wheeling Park and West Virginia product, takes a question from a camper at the ‘Foundations Baseball’ event held at Chambers I-470 Complex in Elm Grove.

WHEELING — Michael Grove has never been one to take anything for granted.

Actually, the Wheeling Park and West Virginia University product might lean toward being more of pessimist toward certain things.

Though he had received some interst from Major League Baseball organizations, he was pretty much resigned to the fact that he’d more than likely be back in Morgantown to play his senior season with the Mountaineers in 2019 after undergoing Tommy John Surgery.

“I didn’t have any expectations (about the draft),” Grove said prior to addressing some 60 campers at the inaugural Foundations Baseball clinic held Thursday evening at the Chambers I-470 Complex in Elm Grove.

The well-spoken and classy Grove didn’t really need any expectations. The Los Angeles Dodgers learned all they needed to know about Grove via video from his sophomore season, some data and looking at his numbers such as frame and velocity. And it proved to be enough when they drafted him in the second round with the 68th overall pick.

Grove officially became a member of the Dodgers organization in late July when he inked his rookie contract, which included a signing bonus of reportedly worth more than $1.2M. Grove has spent the bulk of his summer — since signing — in Arizona at the Dodgers’ spring training facility, continuing his rehab and getting a feel for what lies ahead.

“I am at the tail end of my rehab and I could probably be cleared now if I needed to be,” Grove said.

“I feel great. I am just looking forward to getting back out there and pitching competitively again.”

While the physical portion of that will certainly come back in time, Grove pointed out the mental aspect of taking the ball every fifth day after missing more than a full year is another area where work remains.

To help ease that transition, Grove will return to Arizona in the coming days to finish his rehab and work in the instructional league.

“I am really just continuing to work on my pitches and get in better shape,” Grove said.

After the fall league work, Grove will shut down completely from throwing for “a few months.”

“I am going to need that time off because the rehab program has been really long and that rest for my arm will help me to be able to gear up for spring training.”

Grove indicated the rehab has really been amped up in the last few weeks, including an exercise where he performs three sets of 25 throws from 120 feet at between 85 and 89 miles per hour.

“It’s a lot of throwing, which is why at this point, you’re ready for a break,” Grove said. “Even though you haven’t pitched, it seems like you have.”

Grove hasn’t pitched in a real game since leaving a start against Kansas State in April of 2017. Prior to that, he had been absolutely lights out for the Mountaineers, accumulating a 3-1 record with a 2.87 earned run average in 47 innings of work. Opposing hitters were batting just .174 against him and he had fanned 61 hitters.

Shortly after the first of the year, Grove will amp back up the throwing to begin to prepare himself for his first spring training. He will report to Dodgers’ minor league camp in February.

“I don’t have a timetable (for my advancement),” Grove said. “My long-term goal is to be the best in the game. But, right now, it’s about taking it one day at a time and the first goal is to get back to competitive pitching and then start to gain experience at the professional level.”

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