Even though the players are locked out, many are staying game-ready by utilizing facilities the MLBPA has established in both Arizona and Florida as they await baseball’s return. Towering lefty Brad Wieck is among them and he may have the best perspective of anyone on the whole matter.
“It stinks right now that we’re locked out,” Wieck told Maddie Lee of the Sun-Times. “But at least with this alternate site, we can be around some guys that are doing the same thing that we’re doing, with the same goal.”
If it seems like he’s sort of shrugging off the game’s stalemate, it’s probably because he’s just happy to be pitching at all. Wieck missed most of last season due to a heart procedure, the second he’s undergone as a member of the Cubs, and pitched just one inning in 2020 between the first cardiac ablation and leg injuries.
“This one, they had to poke a hole in my heart and go to the left side of my heart,” he told Lee. “So, they had to put me on three months of blood thinners so I wouldn’t develop a blood clot in my heart.”
I caught up with Brad Wieck today, after he threw a bullpen at the MLBPA site. He said "the pump house is acting the way it should right now," referring to his heart. More: https://t.co/oSOQxcHklp pic.twitter.com/XHtVxI5VUV
— Maddie Lee (@maddie_m_lee) March 8, 2022
Everything seems to be working well with the “pump house” now and Wieck said he’s ready to go for spring training, which we can only hope will start soon. No stranger to abnormal exhibition seasons, this is the third time in the last four years that Wieck has not been able to start or complete spring training on time.
Prior to this lockout and the first heart issue, not to mention the shutdown, he underwent surgery for testicular cancer that was discovered during an intake physical with the Padres in 2019. Dude can’t seem to catch a break.
He can, however, throw a big breaking ball that was developed when he came over to the Cubs in exchange for Carl Edwards Jr. during the ’19 season. The Cubs started working with Wieck on a spike-curve grip as soon as he joined the organization, forcing him to throw his breaking stuff more after relying very heavily on his fastball. The curve has been very effective in limited action, so no it’s a matter of seeing what he can do if he can stay healthy.
As for the fastball, Wieck’s low-to-mid-90s velocity isn’t super impressive on paper but plays up because he releases the ball closer to the plate than most pitchers. Each foot of distance in release point is equivalent to about 3 mph of perceived velo, and he can really stretch to the plate at 6-foot-8 to make his heater jump on batters.