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Yankees' Stephen Ridings Details Offseason Injury Holding Him Back This Spring

Ridings has been working back from an offseason injury the last few months, hindering his ability to pitch his way to an Opening Day roster spot.
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TAMPA — Stephen Ridings impressed during his first taste of big-league action last summer, lighting up radar guns while winning over the fan base with his inspiring story. 

An injury sustained this offseason, however, will likely prevent the hard-throwing reliever from contending for an Opening Day roster spot.

"I slipped a disk during a lift back in January or February. With the lockout, it's been tough to get on the right path," Ridings told Inside The Pinstripes in the clubhouse at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Wednesday. "We thought it was getting better, picked up a ball again and something in my shoulder didn't quite feel right. That's really all I know right now."

Ridings was called up to the Yankees for the first time last August, retiring the side with three strikeouts in his MLB debut against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium. He went on to allow just one earned run over five strong outings in a two-week stretch, punching out seven of the 20 batters he faced. 

Unsurprisingly, the 6-foot-8 hurler is itching to get back to that stage, frustrated that this setback is holding him hostage this spring.

"It's my first big-league camp. First time on the roster," Ridings said. "I was looking forward to competing, earning a spot, doing everything I can to contribute to the team."

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Further, with this spring's post-lockout time crunch leading up to Opening Day, Ridings finds himself in an even tougher spot, explaining that he won't be ready to play in any Grapefruit League games.

"Even if I came in today, and I was like, 'hey everything feels great,' with the amount of time I missed before getting here due to the lockout and navigating the injury, I have to go through my full buildup."

It's not all bad news for the former eighth-round pick, though. Ridings revealed that he played catch for the first time since his latest setback on Wednesday and it felt good, a step in the right direction. 

Ridings, 26, was added to the 40-man roster in November. Across two levels in the minor leagues last season, the right-hander posted a 1.24 ERA and a 5-0 record with 42 strikeouts in 29 innings pitched. 

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