Rockies' Matzek back after treatment for performance anxiety
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Colorado Rockies left-hander Tyler Matzek returned to spring training Thursday after spending two weeks taking brain tests and undergoing coaching for performance anxiety.
Matzek started the Rockies' home opener last year, but ended up in the low minors because of control and confidence issues. He failed to get anybody out in his first spring appearance on March 2, was scratched from his next start and then left camp on March 14.
The 25-year-old Matzek spent the past two weeks in Denver with the Rockies' new mental skills coach, former NFL linebacker and psychologist Dr. Rick Perea.
''He's got a lot of holistic views of how to connect your mind and your body,'' Matzek said. ''He's got a lot of strategies on how to do that. A lot of good information, coaching and stuff like that.''
Matzek said he took twice-daily neurotherapy tests, mental exercises in which he was taught to overcome brain wave imbalances that are causing his mental health issues.
''I did 30 sessions,'' Matzek said. ''The first 10 is where you see the biggest improvement. And then the next 20 are to kind of reinforce what you're doing.
''That's why I was up there for so long. You can only do two a day and I had to do 30 of them.''
Matzek also spent time in a saltwater float tank working on meditation and positive imagery. He'll continue working with Perea in hopes of regaining the confidence and control that made him one of Colorado's top prospects.
Matzek said he did some throwing while in Denver. He'll likely begin the season in the minors but is just happy to be back with his teammates.
''One thing that kind of surprise me - I knew the guys would support me - but they've been overwhelmingly supportive of it,'' Matzek said. ''The organization has been overwhelmingly supportive of it. I'm just really happy with how everyone has been acting and treating me. It's been really nice.''