The road back from Tommy John surgery can be a tedious and lonely process, but Brebbia and Beede have the benefit of leaning on each other as they continue to rehab their reconstructed elbow ligaments at Giants camp this spring.
“We have gotten to chat a little bit, and I picked his brain just a touch,” Brebbia said. “If you interview him, and he says, ‘Yeah, Brebbia stinks,’ it's because I'm asking him way too many questions.”
Beede, for his part, said he hasn’t minded fielding Brebbia’s inquiries.
“I’m kind of lighting the path for him,” Beede said. “He’s had some questions for me about building up intent. He’s a reliever, and he has a different progression than I do, but it's been good to lean on each other.”
Beede and Brebbia likely won’t be options to pitch for the Giants until June, as they were both placed on the 60-day injured list last month. Beede, 27, had previously said he was hoping to return to the Majors in May, but he contracted COVID-19 after arriving in Arizona in early January and was forced to quarantine for 12 days.
He said his case was fairly mild -- he experienced common cold symptoms -- though his wife, Allie, briefly lost her sense of taste and smell. Beede’s family is fine now, but the bout with the illness kept him from throwing bullpens for three weeks and ended up pushing back his timetable.
“I like the idea of pushing myself, and pushing the limits of my elbow responding and adapting and getting back as soon as I can,” Beede said. “But at the same time, [the 60-day IL] kind of provides a sense of relief to take it step by step, listen to my body, trust the progression that's in place and go from there. I'm still extremely eager and excited to get back, but at the same time, there’s relief that I can kind of take it a little bit slower and be more patient with my arm.”
Beede said he threw his sixth bullpen on Wednesday and has built up to 50 percent intent. The plan is for him to begin mixing in changeups in his next throwing session. Beede expects to begin making rehab starts in the Minors in early May and hopes to become a rotation option for the Giants soon after he’s eligible to be activated off the 60-day IL on May 31.
“The ball is coming out really well with not a ton of effort,” Beede said. “I like the way I’ve been bouncing back. Today I feel great. There are days where I certainly feel a little stiff, and the arm and the elbow are adapting to the new ligament and the stress that I'm adding on it, which is good. I'm happy about that. I’m excited to continue to progress.”
Brebbia, who joined the Giants on a one-year, $800,000 deal in December, is farther behind Beede, but he has transitioned to throwing the ball off the mound, which has allowed him to feel “like a real baseball player again.”
“Prior to that, it was kind of the usual rehab stuff,” Brebbia said. “Seeing a [physical therapist], the workouts and slowly ramping up to throwing. But I feel really good. I’m looking forward to ramping up and keep ramping up until eventually it's game ready.”
Brebbia, 30, was a 30th-round Draft pick of the Yankees in 2011, but he developed into a solid reliever for the Cardinals, logging a 3.14 ERA over 161 appearances in parts of three seasons. He said he had the option to return to St. Louis this offseason, but he felt the Giants were a better fit for him as he continued to chart his path back to the Majors.
“I wanted to find a place where I could become the best pitcher I was capable of being, and the Giants staff and how their analytics works, all of that will help me the most,” Brebbia said. “Second is the culture. I want to be part of a winning culture. I like winning baseball games. And the Giants have been winning quite a few games for quite a long time.
“It doesn't hurt that the city of San Francisco is fantastic. But I would say that finding a place to be the best pitcher I can be and finding a place that wants to win are the two key parts.”