Amborn recovers from shoulder surgery to help St. Al

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 23, 2003

[4/23/03]Practice begins the same every day for St. Aloysius senior Charlie Amborn. Standing 100 feet apart, Amborn and senior pitcher Jason Brown long toss to each other.

They are the first two ready for practice and show the leadership expected of senior players.

The routine began this season as Amborn is slowly recovering from offseason shoulder surgery on his right arm.

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Last season, he split time at catcher as well as taking on duties in the outfield. This year, the injury forced him to abandon his play behind the plate.

“I had to start a throwing program,” Amborn said. “So during the summer I started throwing, and I thought I was doing great. It felt really good. Then, all of a sudden it just kind of hit this time where it didn’t feel too good, and it got worse and worse.”

Amborn estimates he began this season at about 40-50 percent playing strength in his arm. He attempted to resume his role at catcher early in the season but found it to be too difficult to maintain.

Sophomore Rob Jones has taken over the catching responsibilities for the team, while Amborn has played right field.

“At the beginning of the year when I went to catch, I couldn’t throw anybody out at second,” he said. “It was constant throwing, and my shoulder just couldn’t take it. I think the move to the outfield was good.”

Following a good start of the year with the bat, Amborn fell into a slump midway through the season.

St. Al coach Joe Graves said Amborn’s slump never bothered him.

“He’s doing the things he needs to do as a senior to lead us,” he said. “He’s been in this situation for four years. He knows what we have to do to win, so you can’t have a better player in that situation.”

Amborn said his shoulder was not bothering his swing, but rather he felt the need to compensate on offense for what he couldn’t do on defense.

“I guess you could say I was trying too hard,” he said. “It was more mental than anything.”

As with any slump, the more Amborn thought about it and tried to fix it, the worse the slump got, until he finally stopped worrying and started having fun again.

Amborn hit .439 with 12 doubles and 24 RBIs last season and .409 with seven doubles and 37 RBIs in 2001. This season, his numbers have dropped, but he has hit well over the past two weeks, peaking at the right time as the Flashes head into the second round of the playoffs.

Amborn admits his shoulder is still less than 100 percent, and he’ll continue to work on it with his daily long toss and rehabilitation.

“Emotionally, it’s my senior year and I have to do as much as I can for the team,” he said. “Knowing that I couldn’t pick the ball up and gun somebody out just gave me the momentum to start working harder.”