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A Trio Of Ankles: Outtakes

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Really interesting, and unexpectedly humorous, conversation with Anthony Rendon, Michael Fuda and Chad Mozingo about their ankle injuries and subsequent surgical procedures performed by the esteemed Dr. Tom Clanton. All three tore, to varying degrees, the lateral ligaments on their ankles, with Rendon suffering a complete tear as well as some tendon damage. Their story is on the mothersite, while their post-op picture is available via twitter.

I typically try to avoid interviewing multiple subjects simultaneously because group interviews tend to produce cautious answers to probing questions. Rendon, Fuda and Mozingo provided a rare instance where not only did the group interview dynamic work, it enhanced the discussion because the subjects played off one another. With all three in the same room their personalities shone through, and their individual trials coming off ankle surgery were revealed.

Some of that was conveyed in the aforementioned story while other quotes didn't make the cut but were too good to pass up. Again, the conversation yielded a peek into the personalities present, so I figured I would share a little something from what those guys shared with me.

Fuda, totally deadpan, when asked what measures he took to maintain a positive frame of mind while separated from baseball and undergoing rehab: "I'm not really a positive person."

Rendon joking about the fall restrictions laid out by the coaches to avoid sliding and running especially hard around the bases: "I never run hard. I run hard when I need to, but I'm lazy."

And finally Mozingo on his harassment of The OG to participate in an intrasquad game after being cleared for action with seven days remaining on the fall schedule: "Coach was like, 'You're Chad. You're going to go out there and do something stupid. Just wait until the spring, you've got plenty of time.' Every day I would go over there and be like, 'Coach, let me get one at-bat,' and it got to the point where he wouldn't even listen to my question. He would be like, 'Just leave,' until that last day when I was like, 'Coach, come on,' and he was like, 'Alright, go get one at-bat.'" Facing Fr. RHP Anthony Fazio, Mozingo lined out to center on the first pitch.

Beyond the chuckles was the candor expressed by Rendon on enjoying his respite from baseball. It's easy to forget that for elite prep players baseball is a year-round sport, and as Rendon discussed the necessary commitment to succeed, Fuda and Mozingo nodded in agreement on how time consuming baseball is for those who aspire to make a pro career of it.

"I really haven't had a break since playing baseball my whole life," Rendon said. "Growing up with Fuda and Chad, we played at Baseball USA and they can vouch where we never had a freaking weekend off. We play year-round, so I felt like this (injury) kind of slowed me down and got my head on straight. I got to take a break from baseball and just kind of relax."

Truly refreshing dialogue from three enjoyably different guys. It's amazing the things you discover when the student-athletes are accessible and not living in a totalitarian police state.

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MK, while Chad's ankle injuries were what kept him out of games, I would imagine it was the wrist injury that had the far greater adverse effect on his game; particularly his hitting. I'm still amazed he was able to have the offensive year he did while playing through that injury.

Walt: Of course. But I'm sure that having your balance adversely impacted at the plate, let along your ability to run in the field and on the bases, didn't help either. - MK

OT, once again.

What's the deal with Trey Briggs? He's missing from the UTEP depth chart.

Talon: Illness. - MK

Thanks for the interesting insights on these talented young men and Rice baseball in general. I am very glad the university brought you into the fold. Keep up the great work.

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