Way’s longevity product of work ethic [Baseball]

June 17, 2013
Matt Way

Sitka southpaw Matt Way last night celebrated his 60th career professional start, a major milestone for the 26-year-old.

He is only the second Alaska pitcher to start that many pro games.

For the last month, however, it didn’t look like Way would ever get on the mound again for the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League. A shoulder injury forced him to miss his previous three stars, stretching 30 days.

Turns out, his injury was because he got complacent.

“I’m coming off shoulder impingement and I’m positive it’s because I didn’t stay up on my regimen when I got to Long Island … I got lazy, and this is what I get for it,” Way told me. “A very mediocre season this far and an injury that made me miss three starts. Keeping your body in shape and grinding is the key during a baseball season.”

Way, of Sitka High fame, is 2-3 with a 4.39 ERA in eight starts with Long Island. He hasn’t pitched this poorly since his rookie season.

“I’m trying to build myself back into the pitcher I’m supposed to be,” he said.

Way, a product of the Philadelphia Phillies farm system, has won 27 of 46 career decisions, a gaudy .587 winning percentage.

The key to his success over the years has been his work ethic away from the field.

“Take pride in your off-field regimen because if your regimen is better than the next guy, over 140-game season it will show,” Way said. “Once you start to wear out it’s a slippery slope to injuries and sore arms and even career-ending injuries.”

Working out is especially important when you’re struggling to win.

“I pitched yesterday and after the game I ran 25 minutes and did a kettle bell lower body workout for 15 minutes and a shoulder scapula routine that takes about 10 minutes,” he said. “Today I’m in Philly so I ran on the Franklin Bridge, threw, lifted, did shoulder work, then iced.”

It explains why Way has thrown eight career complete games, including three shutouts. When he starts, it’s his game and he expects to keep the ball.

“The key to staying healthy is to get your body in shape to throw nine innings,” he said. “Not six or seven, but a full nine, that way if you come out early you go finish your day in the weight room or run or both to fatigue your body so that you’re always in shape to throw nine.

“Lift or run every day in between starts and that will keep your body from wearing down after every start. I’m 26 now and yes, longevity means everything to me. I was released by the Phillies because of injuries.

“That’s when I started to take my own fitness level into my own hands. It’s my career.”