Ceciliani Getting Over The Hill

Ceciliani says he's over his hamstring problem

Darrell Ceciliani has had some standout performances over the years since his fourth round selection back in 2009, especially in the speed department. He was never really able to showcase that this past season, however, as a nagging hamstring injury to his right leg kept him on the shelf for most of the year. He was able to bounce back at season's end though in the Arizona Fall League.

"I think it went pretty well for me," Ceciliani said of his AFL performance. "I think I came out here and did some things I needed to do.

"My main thing was to prove that I could stay healthy and get the hamstring thing under control. That was the main thing, come out here and get some consistent at-bats and some playing time, and stay healthy. I got my hamstrings right and I'm ready to go."

Statistically it was a decent season for the outfielder as he hit .329 for the St. Lucie Mets, but that was in just 23 games. In fact he initially pulled his hamstring just four games into the season and then three more times over the course of the season.

"It was really frustrating," he admitted. "We couldn't find an answer why it was happening. We knew there had to be a cause of the reason why I kept pulling it. We saw some specialists and we got some x-rays on my hips and my hips were offline by about two and half or three inches.

"We did some workouts, some strengthening exercises to get them back lined up. We did a bunch of leg strengthening and once we finally figured it out, ever since then I kind of took off and felt great since."

He played in just four games in May, four games in June, and missed the entire month of July, but was able to finish the season with a nine-game stretch that saw him hit .406 with the St. Lucie Mets.

New York sent him to the Arizona Fall League to get some much needed reps and he wound up playing 18 games for the Surprise Saguaros, hitting .258 and more importantly stealing five bases.

"I came out here to the Arizona Fall League and I was just nervous every time I took off to run or steal a base, I was just like 'man, I hope it holds up'," he said. "As I got to do that more throughout the Fall [League] and started running, I didn't really think about it.

"Just getting over that hill of cautiousness, feeling good and getting that confidence back, that's been big.

"The hamstring feels good. I don't know how many games I got in [in the Arizona Fall League] but they feel great. I have no problems. I got to run, steal a few bases down here, and it felt good."

While critics will point to the limited number of at-bats in 2012 and perhaps tab it a lost season of sorts, Ceciliani does not believe that is the case. He feels mentally stronger after being able to learn from the sidelines and now that his hamstring issue is behind him, he believes he can bounce back in a big way going forward.

"I still got to come out here to the Fall League and got to compete with some of the best minor league guys in the game. I got to do that so I don't think it was a complete wash at all.

"I got to get some at-bats and I got to develop my mental game even though I wasn't on the field a lot of the time.

"I'm just trying to put this behind me and go into next Spring Training healthy next year and play 142 games. That's my ultimate goal, it is every year trying to go out there and stay healthy. That's half the battle," he concluded.

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