03/26/10 — Daivs' surgery give new perspective about life

View Archive

Daivs' surgery give new perspective about life

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on March 26, 2010 1:47 PM

Garrett Davis wondered if he would ever feel like the same pitcher again. The Charles B. Aycock alum underwent Tommy John surgery in March of 2008 during his freshman season at North Carolina.

Davis red-shirted that spring and pitched just eight innings a year ago. He appeared in nine games for the Harwich Mariners of the Cap Cod League over the summer and rehabbed diligently to regain the form that made him the North Carolina Class 3-A high school player-of-the-year in 2007.

For an entire year Davis lifted weights and did arm exercises among other things to work his way back on to the mound. The right-hander has appeared five games this season, won two of three outings and fashioned a 4.57 earned run average (ERA) in 21-plus innings.

"My arm feels good," said Davis. "The mental part was the biggest part for me. It was just trusting that my arm was fixed and not trying to aim my pitches. When I first came back my mechanics were off and that's the reason my control was off.

"You can't pitch at this level if you're throwing balls and not getting ahead of hitters."

Davis didn't make North Carolina's travel roster for the College World Series last season, but did accompany the team to Omaha. Watching his teammates come up short of their goal of winning the national championship was a motivating experience for Davis.

"It was tough," said Davis. "I'm a realist and I knew I wasn't going to help the team at the time. As hard as that it is, I took it like it was. It made me eager to get back out there."

Through the adversity of a year-long rehab process to watching his teammates have their dreams dashed in Omaha, Davis has gained a newfound perspective on not just baseball but on life.

"I've definitely learned that hard work pays off," said Davis. "I've realized that baseball isn't everything. Going into the surgery, I didn't know that if I would come back out the same player or not. I've learned that I'm not just a baseball player, but I'm a good person, too."

The Tar Heels have reached the College World Series in each of the past four seasons including appearances in the finals in 2006 and 2007. Davis sees the keys to North Carolina finally hoisting a national championship trophy as trusting in the program and hitting a stride at the right time.

"We always see the good in it even though we've come up a couple of games short," said Davis. "It's all about getting hot at the right time. I don't think we need to do anything different. If it's meant to be, it's meant to be.

"We've just got to keep playing our style."Garrett Davis wondered if he would ever feel like the same pitcher again.