ATLANTA -- Now that Mike Soroka has pinpointed what was ailing his surgically repaired right Achilles tendon, he can extend his long rehab process in pain-free fashion. But it’s still too early to know when the Braves hurler might pitch again.
“It's going to be something that we're going to have to take week by week, even when I'm back on the mound,” Soroka said. "Whenever that might be, we're going to have to be honest with ourselves. But obviously, my goal is to help this team and in whatever respect that may be.”
Approximately a month after undergoing exploratory surgery on the previously repaired Achilles tendon, Soroka will remain in a walking boot for at least another week. The 23-year-old hurler is attempting to rebuild his arm strength by throwing with his (surgically repaired) back leg elevated. His atrophied calf won’t return to full strength until he’s able to enhance his walking and running exercises.
So, while Soroka rejoining Atlanta’s pitching staff this year remains a possibility, he has to clear quite a few hurdles before being able to finally make his return from the torn right Achilles tendon he suffered on Aug. 3.
“It's all going to be based on strength in the calf,” Soroka said. “I guess that I spent a lot of time down, and it's a muscle that requires a lot of work. So again, going forward, I know [the Braves] aren’t in any hurry to put a date on things, or put an expectation out there. But anything's a possibility.”
Soroka’s optimism has actually increased since undergoing exploratory surgery on May 17. The procedure determined that the right foot/ankle discomfort Soroka had been feeling since the end of March was a result of his body rejecting the sutures that were placed in his Achilles tendon during the initial surgery.
“[The sutures] were sitting right on top, they weren't absorbed,” Soroka said. “That’s exactly what I was feeling and what was creating the problem. We had to make sure that there was no infection present, because that was also a concern.”
Soroka initially aimed to join Atlanta’s rotation near the end of April. His bid to do so was halted by right shoulder inflammation, which he now confidently believes was a result of the altered mechanics he used to compensate for the discomfort he was feeling around his right Achilles tendon.
Given he is still at least two weeks from being cleared to begin throwing off both feet, Soroka doesn’t know exactly what the next couple months might bring. He knows he has a long road ahead of him as he attempts to regain mobility and strength. But he’s still holding out hope of avoiding the helplessness he experienced when the Braves were in the postseason last year.
“My goal is to help this team and in whatever respect that may be,” Soroka said. “Just watching this team, I think there's something that's going to click soon. I still think we're going to be there in September and October fighting for spots. And I'd love to be there.”