DENVER -- Rockies left-hander Jake McGee has been slow to return to form since being recovering from a left MCL sprain. But there are signs that he's close.McGee struggled in his first five appearances after a nearly month-long stint on the 15-day disabled list, as he allowed six runs over
DENVER -- Rockies left-hander Jake McGee has been slow to return to form since being recovering from a left MCL sprain. But there are signs that he's close.
McGee struggled in his first five appearances after a nearly month-long stint on the 15-day disabled list, as he allowed six runs over 3 2/3 innings and gave up a pair of home runs.
However, McGee has only allowed one run on one hit in his five appearances after the All-Star break, which span three innings. He tossed a scoreless ninth inning in Sunday's 7-2 victory over the Braves.
"It's exciting because I see him getting there," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "I see the life coming back to the fastball, and that's the key for him. That's the barometer when you're talking about McGee. He's a fastball pitcher. To see that life starting to come back with his fastball, you know that he's getting right."
In his last appearance before the knee injury, McGee averaged 96.6 mph on his fastball. But when he returned from the injury, it averaged just 92.3 mph in his five outings before the All-Star break. That velocity is beginning to return, as he hit 96 mph in his last appearance on Saturday against the Braves and is averaging nearly two mph more on his fastball after the break.
"I think just getting past that threshold after you get hurt and you're back on the mound and finally letting it go and giving it everything," McGee said. "Once you're past that, it's good to go from there."
McGee's velocity takes a while to build up at the start of the season, so, as Weiss points out, the knee injury essentially started over McGee's season in terms of establishing his velocity. However, with exercises every other day to strengthen his knee and quadriceps, he is returning to form.
"I think right away you're always going to be a little cautious with it, especially with mine because it's my push-off one," McGee said. "Once I got past that, I got comfortable with pushing off and knowing it's going to be fine. For me, it's doing all my exercise before and getting strong. I've got a new routine with that, and it's feeling a lot better."
Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver.