Rangers' Hearn has much to be thankful for

November 23rd, 2019

DALLAS -- There was a sighting on Friday.

The Rangers left-handed pitcher, who seemed to disappear for almost seven months, was at the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy on Friday night. Hearn was there along with teammates , and to distribute Thanksgiving dinners.

“This is something I’ve always wanted to do especially in my home town,” said Hearn, who is from nearby Royse City. “Just to be able to put a Rangers jersey on and help out families or anybody in need. I love this type of stuff, love doing it. It’s about giving back.”

This is an annual event for the Rangers, sponsored by Power 2 Change Foundation and Buckner Children and Family Services. The deserving families receiving the dinners were selected by Buckner and the Dallas Housing Authority.

“It’s always great to give back to the community and be with the guys and hand out some food,” Gallo said. “It’s an event I always love doing.”

Friday was especially important for Hearn. He was given the go-ahead to begin his offseason throwing program with all signs pointing to being full strength for Spring Training. That will be a tremendous boost for Hearn. Everybody needs something to be thankful for at Thanksgiving and for Hearn, it’s simply about being healthy again after what he went through this past season.

“It was really rough,” Hearn said. “Last [season] was rough, especially being in Arizona after rehabbing and wanting to get back out there. It was to the point where I didn’t watch any of the Rangers' games for 2-3 months just because it was hard.”

It was almost like everybody forgot about Hearn once rookie left-handers , and started getting their chance late in the season.

“If they did, that’s fine,” Hearn said. “I am going to resurface in Spring Training. I’m not worried about it.”

Hearn was one of the Rangers top pitching prospects coming out of Spring Training, and the plan was for him to get extended development time in Triple A. That changed in April when and went on the injured list and the Rangers needed a starting pitcher.

Hearn was called up to start against the Mariners on April 25. The problem was that Hearn had some soreness in his left elbow and didn’t tell anybody.

“I didn’t think much of it,” Hearn said. “But when I went out there, when the game started going, my arm didn’t feel too well. It was to the point when I was trying to get my arm up and I didn’t know where the ball was going. I was in some serious pain.”

Hearn was diagnosed with a strained ligament in the elbow and was sent to the Rangers complex in Surprise, Ariz., to go through a rehab program. By the end of June, Hearn had progressed to the point where he was close to pitching in a game when he started experiencing more discomfort. Further examination revealed a fracture in the elbow.

Hearn never did pitch in a game. It took him six weeks before he could even resume a throwing program. That was in late August.

“It took me a while to get my confidence back,” Hearn said. “When I started back throwing it was a little rough because I was a little scared.”

Hearn said the confidence started coming back when he was stretched out to 120 feet and able to throw with no pain. But he was still doing rehab work while Burke, Palumbo and Allard were pitching for the Rangers.

“I was happy for them,” Hearn said. “I got to know them in big league camp and was friends with them. I was pulling for them. I’d watch their starts, but I’d watch four or five innings and then cut the TV off.”

He finished his rehab program with four bullpen sessions off the mound. Everything went well.

“Talking with the medical staff, they are happy I’m back to normal and looking forward to 2020,” Hearn said. “They were making sure the arm was well and the spin efficiency was right. I never throw bullpens at full tilt, but I had to do it and felt good doing it just to make sure I felt right.”

Hearn took two weeks off and now begins a normal offseason throwing program. Hearn is going to enjoy this Thanksgiving and he was able to share that joy with others in West Dallas on Friday night.