It was pro day at Monmouth College in October 2010 and representatives from various Major League Baseball teams were there to scout the team.
Nanuet-born pitcher Frank Fantino was trying to “gas it up,” as he said, and for a while it was working. Then, he decided to throw a curveball.
“My elbow never hurt before that,” he said. “It was just one of those freak accidents. It just happens.”
Fantino had to have Tommy John surgery, a medical procedure many professional baseball players have undergone and is named after a former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher. The surgery, which replaces torn tendon in the elbow with tendon from elsewhere in the body, usually takes a year to full recover from.
He had the surgery in November of that year and couldn’t throw a baseball for about five months. He began rehabbing in March and worked up to throwing his first live bullpen. Before the injury, Fantino said he topped out in the 85-87 miles per hour range, and now he’s around 84-86.
“Right now I’m 100 percent. I’m a year and a half out from the surgery,” he said. “I came a long way. I’ve put in a lot of hard work and rehabbing.”
After the injury, Fantino didn’t play for Monmouth and ended up transferring to Southern New Hampshire University, where he appeared in two games last year. He will enter the fall as a sophomore.
But before that, Fantino is currently playing for the Brockton Rox of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League in Massachusetts.
“It’s been awesome. I feel like a professional player,” he said. “We got to sign balls for kids the other day. You feel like you’re somebody else. You’re always on the road traveling.”
Fantino was a starting pitcher for St. Joseph Regional High School in Montvale, N.J., but since his injury he’s worked as a reliever while building back up his arm.
The Rox season started less than two weeks ago, and so far Fantino has appeared in three games out of the bullpen. He’s given up just one unearned run and no hits so far, while striking out and walking three.
While he grew up in Nanuet, and his family still lives there, Fantino said he would’ve gone to Clarkstown High School South and played West Nyack Little League. Growing up, and still today, Fantino, a lefty pitcher himself, said his favorite player was Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte. Fantino has been playing baseball since he was five.
“I keep playing for the love of the game and I’m always trying to work hard. As you grow up, baseball becomes more stressful. Kids are getting better as you are,” he said. “You have to keep working hard to keep your spot. That’s what motivates me to keep going.”
Heat up, prices down
The forecast calls extreme heat today which will lower the cost of tickets to a Rockland Boulders game at Provident Bank Park in Pomona.
At the time of purchase, for every degree it is above 90 degrees as per weather.com, fans will receive a $1 discount off the price of their ticket. This is for any seat in the house, but can only be purchased at the box office, which is open starting at 9 a.m. through the end of the game that evening.
Thus, if the temperature reaches 98 degrees at the time a fan is purchasing a ticke, the prices would be as follows: HP Box normally $16 now $8; INF Box normally $13 not $5; OF Box normally $11 now $3; Grandstand normally $8 now free.
The Boulders host the Quebec Les Capitales on Friday at 7 p.m.
Infielder Ryan Mollica of Suffern is tied for second on the team in home runs with four, and ranks third in average (.333) and RBI (24), while right-handed pitcher Bobby Blevins of Briarcliff heads the staff with three wins, and ranks second in strikeouts with 32.
Do You Know A Local Olympian?
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This week’s sports poll . This week brings the official start of summer, and summer brings some of the year’s most exciting sporting events. Which ones are you anxiously awaiting?
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