Kevin Melillo Journal: Off-Season Work

Melillo has been hard at work this winter.

Oakland A's second base prospect Kevin Melillo is coming off of a standout season during which he moved up three levels and was named OaklandClubhouse Minor League Position Player of the Year. Melillo has agreed to write a journal chronicling his 2006 campaign for OaklandClubhouse.com. Currently, Melillo is hard at work getting ready for the new season and, in his first player journal entry, he talks about his off-season knee surgery, his rehabilitation schedule and more.

Well, I guess I can start by stating first how ready I am to get back into the swing of things. After having a very long, yet enjoyable, season at different levels -- including a AA championship and the Instructional League -- this off-season has been very good to me. It started off slowly, as I enjoyed going back to my college campus at the University of South Carolina and catching up with friends and family that you don't have the privilege of being with during the season.

Things were looking great, although my right knee continued to bother me after a month or so of downtime, so after talking with [the A's Minor League Medical Coordinator] Jeff Collins, we decided a surgery would be the best option. The off-season gives you plenty of time to take care of things that are bothering you, so hopefully you aren't confronted with those same physical problems during the next long 140 game season.

I was somewhat skeptical about having the procedure done. But myself, my family, my agent and my physical therapist all agreed that I should have the arthroscopic knee surgery which was on December 16th, leaving me with plenty of time to rehab. The surgery is considered rather minor. It consists of removing soft cartilage and things call plica that form over the knee cap.

My plans to give hitting lessons in the off-season were put on hold to make sure I was ready for the upcoming year. I lucked out with a great doctor, Dr. D'Allesandro in Charlotte, NC, who performed my surgery. He also repaired the left shoulder of [fellow A's prospect] Steve Bondurant. Two weeks after the surgery, I was off my crutches and walking around Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, FL during the Christmas holidays. After the turn of the new year, I started a more vigorous rehab program that would increase my leg strength, speed and flexibility.

My physical therapist at OrthoCarolina has a workout program to prepare college, semi-pro and pro football players to get ready for the NFL Combine and European Leagues. Some names of NFL players I got to work out with include Jacksonville Jaguars safety Terry Cousin, Kansas City Chiefs running back Dee Brown and Arizona Cardinals defensive back Lamont Reid.

Monday through Friday we do plenty of conditioning: pushing sleds, hip circuits, footwork drills, speed training and a lot of weight training...not to mention Yoga on Wednesday mornings. It's a sight to see about 10 guys (five of which are more than 300 pounds) doing Yoga. Throughout the months of January and February this training program has gotten my knee back to 100% and made me ready for the long haul of Spring Training right into the new season. I've lucked out being in the South with the weather, so I'm able to get outside and work out on the baseball field with hitting and taking ground balls, although the majority of my rehab work has been in the weight room.

With less than two weeks remaining in the off-season, my anticipation grows for my return back to the clubhouse and on the field. I am looking forward to another successful year in the system, wherever that may be.

Have questions for Kevin? Email them to oaklandclubhouse@yahoo.com. Be sure to include your first name and your city and put "Question for Kevin" in the subject line of the email. He will respond to questions periodically throughout the season.

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