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Oft-injured Black Hopes to Keep 103mph Fastball on the Field

Comcast Sportsnet—March 4, 2015

The locker is tucked into the corner of the clubhouse, near a door that leads to the dugout and a refrigerator holding dozens of bottles of Dasani water. It’s not where you’d expect to find a pitcher who throws 103 mph, but then again, Ray Black is not your normal prospect.

The scouting reports say Black's fastball can sit at 100 mph and tick upwards on good days, but they also include a familiar note: "When healthy." Black knows that thus far this is the defining characteristic of his career, not the fastball that some say is the most explosive in the minor leagues. The 24-year-old right-hander nods knowingly and smiles when asked about medical issues that have cost him four full seasons since his junior year of high school.

The list of injuries begins with baseball’s big one, except in Black's case, Tommy John surgery was actually only his second-biggest obstacle. Mets orthopedist Dr. David Altchek performed the elbow reconstruction on Black when he was still in high school. He had blown out his elbow while trying to show off his strong arm during showcase tournaments.

"I was trying to do too much," he said.

This story originally appeared on ComcastBayArea.com.


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