For Habyan, easier sledding

Off the beat

August 24, 1991

Until he allowed a run last night, former Baltimore Orioles pitcher John Habyan had not allowed one since July 15, a scoreless streak of 20 2/3 innings. The streak has helped him move into the No. 2 slot in the New York Yankees bullpen.

The secret to his success?

Part of it can be traced to a January day in 1989, when Habyan went sledding in Bel Air.

He skidded on an icy patch and went flying 10 feet. He landed on his right shoulder and suffered a third-degree separation.

"I was scared because no other pitchers ever had this," Habyan, 27, said. "I didn't know if I would be able to pitch again. I put the fear behind me because I wanted to pitch."

Habyan had surgery two days after the accident and found out a few months later that he had lost velocity on his fastball. So he made adjustments. Habyan developed a nasty sinking fastball, worked on pinpointing his control, quickened his delivery and became better at holding runners on base.

"I learned to pitch a little bit," he said. "Everything I had ignored from pitching coaches started to make sense."

New York traded outfielder Stan Jefferson for Habyan six months after the accident, and the rest is history.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.