Chase Bradford had a great opportunity ripped from his finger tips when he suffered an oblique injury during his first big league camp, and as a result he was kept out of the Mets 2014 spring games.
I recently spoke with Bradford and even though the injury was not expected, he took it all in stride, and his faith and hard work and focus helped him to get through it all.
“It was a disappointment to get hurt early, but I would rather have it happen to me there than in the season where it really counts.’ Bradford continues, “Although I wasn’t able to be in any games I learned a lot from the veterans on the team and was able to see the way Terry [Collins] and the organization wants us to play. I wish I could have been in games but couldn’t let myself get down, it was just a road block that I had to get through.”
After spring training, Bradford was reassigned to Binghamton, where in 2013 he appeared in 20 games, primarily as a set-up man and was 3-1, with a 0.71 ERA, one save and 18 strikeouts in 25.1 innings.
Bradford wasn’t upset by not being promoted initially out of camp, because he understood the dynamics of what the Mets had in Vegas, “I wasn’t really expecting to move up after spring training because of the amount of guys we did have in Vegas and the guys signed in the off season. I wasn’t disappointed at all because I still had a chance to play and provide a big role with the B-Mets.”
He provided a huge boost to the B-Mets bullpen, especially after being named the closer and performing very well in that role.
“I really liked being the primary closer; I’ve been a set up guy my whole career so it’s really not that much of a change except instead of having to get four or five outs, I usually only had to get three, which was nice.”
In the closer role with Binghamton this season, the 24-year old appeared in 20 games and was 1-2, with a 2.28 ERA, 11 saves, and 22 strikeouts in 23.2 innings.
On Monday afternoon it was reported that Las Vegas relief pitcher Jeff Walters was diagnosed with an ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and would require season ending Tommy John surgery. On Sunday evening, Bradford received word that he was being promoted to Vegas, and even though his call-up may have been directly related to Walter’s injury, Bradford definitely earned the nod with his performance so far this season and is very humbled by the move.
“Excited to get back to Vegas to suit up for the Las Vegas 51s. Four years ago I didn’t think it was possible to get where I am but with the love and support of my family and friends….I know we are not done yet,” the Nevada native shared through social media.
Bradford made his Triple-A debut on Monday night against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox at Security Service Field, and even though he had a rough outing allowing three runs on three hits in the eighth inning with the 51s already down 8-5, it very well could be chalked up to nerves or even just adrenaline. But his track record has shown that once he makes the needed adjustments to the new level, he is basically unhittable.
The oblique injury back in spring camp, did detour him a bit, but it did not stop the pitching prospect from getting back on track and performing at the level where he is most comfortable. Now he will get to showcase his skills for the Vegas fans and is aware that he is that much closer to a Mets debut.
“One more, not done yet,” says Bradford.