By Aaron Cheris
Less than two weeks into the 2016 season, Sky Sox outfielder Shane Peterson hit a major bump in the road.
He had to be sent to the disabled list with an injury. The injury hobbled Petereson, but he knew what had to happen to get back on the field.
“It’s frustrating because you put in all the work during the offseason,” Peterson said. “Unfortunately, that’s part of baseball, you get hurt and you need to stay as physically and mentally ready as possible.”
Peterson spent more than a month rehabbing to get back in the lineup, and it was a tough month for him.
“I just got treatment, came in, and worked out. The big thing for me was trying to keep my legs in shape, which can be hard when you’re not out there every day,” he said. “I tried to keep them strong so that when I came back I didn’t lose any strength or any of what I worked for in the offseason.”
Peterson returned to the Sky Sox lineup on May 20 against Las Vegas, and he has been one of the Sky Sox best players since then.
From May 23-29, Peterson was the best player in the Pacific Coast League and was recognized as PCL Player of the Week for that span.
During that week, Peterson led Triple-A in batting average (.524), slugging percentage (1.048) and OPS (1.631). He also led the PCL in total bases (22), extra base hits (7) and tied for the lead in runs scored (9).
Peterson knows that streak will be difficult to maintain, but he knows what he needs to do to be successful.
“Keeping that pace is not really possible,” he said. “I just think about each game day to day and not really about the overall numbers and whatever streaks may be going on.”
What changed for Peterson in a month? Just some extra work off the field.
“I worked on some stuff in the cage for a week before I came off,” Peterson said. “It was good to make some adjustments without worrying about the results on the field.”
On May 27, Peterson registered the second 5-hit game of his career, which spans 960 games, by reaching base six times in the Sky Sox 17-4 rout over Fresno.
While no player wants to be out of the lineup for an extended period of time, Peterson used the time to his advantage and the results have been good for him recently.
“I think I just had time mentally to clear my head,” Peterson said.
The Sky Sox hope Peterson will continue to provide the spark they need as they begin a series with first-place Omaha this week.