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Conway just waiting for it to be his time

January 01, 2013|By TIM KOELBLE | koelble@herald-mail.com

There still are more big days to come for the Smithsburg High School graduate, but the actual dates are still to be determined.

The next will undoubtedly come when Conway is next able to throw from a pitcher’s mound following reconstructive surgery on his right elbow last May.

“I’m about six weeks into the rehab and my arm is feeling great,” said Conway, who is working with Clear Spring baseball coach Mark Shives while he is in Hagerstown.

Conway was pitching for Coastal Carolina against Liberty University on April 26, 2012, when he suffered a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

On May 15 — just three weeks before the Major League Baseball draft — Conway underwent Tommy John surgery.

The surgery didn’t scare off the Chicago Cubs, who selected Conway in the draft’s fourth round.

After the surgery, Conway had 14 weeks of physical therapy in Arizona. He first picked up a baseball on Sept. 17, making 10 throws from 45 to 120 feet.

His rehab routine has also enabled him to add about 15 pounds, now hitting the 195-pound mark which he feels will only serve to add strength and more power to his arm.

Conway will report to Mesa, Ariz., on Sunday to start a program of up to three weeks of long toss and throwing from a mound.

When the Cubs break camp for the regular season, Conway will most likely remain in Mesa to continue his progress.

“By June, I would like to be shipped out,” Conway said. “I understand this takes time. The rehab is a slow process. I want to move as fast as I can, but at the same time I understand this is the proper thing to do.”

Conway, who will turn 22 in April, was drafted out of high school in 2009 when he was taken in the 42nd round by the Atlanta Braves. He passed on the pros at that time, choosing instead to attend Coastal Carolina.

He played as both an outfielder and pitcher for the Chanticleers before switching solely to pitching. He developed a tough slider and increased the velocity on his fastball to 94 mph.

He was a three-sport star at Smithsburg, also playing football and basketball. He was the Herald-Mail All-Area Offensive Player of the Year in football in 2008 and the Player of the Year in baseball in 2009.

“Most people did not know, when I played football on Friday, I was then ready to pitch on Sunday,” Conway said. “Baseball was a luxury in my mind beyond football during the week.”

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